Liverpool had seven players in the running for the 2019 Ballon d’Or – the most of any club. Here’s how they eventually ranked as France Football announced the list.
=26 (w/ Karim Benzema) – Gini Wijnaldum
Brilliant for Wijnaldum to have made the 30-man nominations, honestly. Fully deserved and shows his incredible progress over the last few years. He could perhaps be a little disappointed to be low down the rankings, given his year with both Liverpool and the Netherlands. Still, it’s great to see him recognised as one of Europe’s best midfield players.
19 – Trent Alexander-Arnold
The 19th best player of 2019 is the 21-year-old Scouser in Liverpool’s team. Absolutely deserving of a place in the top 20 and undoubtedly the most exciting right-back in world football right now. He could easily crack the top 10 before long – maybe even in 2020 if he can get that England spot nailed down.
17 – Roberto Firmino
Another one where it’s just fantastic to see him getting recognised at the elite level. Although, another who can maybe feel he should have been higher up. Firmino didn’t just win the Champions League, after all, but also won Copa America 2019 – scoring twice along the way and starting in the final for Brazil. Regardless, Firmino is one of the world’s best strikers and the journalists have recognised him as such.
7 – Alisson
Alisson had an incredible 2019, winning both the Champions League and Copa America. He also did wonderfully individually, winning the Golden Glove in both competitions. He’s undoubtedly been the best goalkeeper of 2019. Surely all of that is worth a higher place than 7th? The Liverpool goalkeeper arguably could have won the Ballon d’Or but we’re sure he’ll settle for the inaugural Yacine Trophy.
5 – Mohamed Salah
Not too many Liverpool fans would have Salah ahead of Alexander-Arnold or Alisson this year. Despite that, his form over the end of last season earns him this place. A second consecutive Premier League Golden Boot and a goal in the Champions League final makes 2019 the most memorable of Salah’s career. Despite not playing quite as well as he did in 2018.
4 – Sadio Mane
What a year for Sadio Mane. Influential in the Champions League – particularly against Bayern Munich – and the Premier League Golden Boot. He came so, so close to winning the Africa Cup of Nations, too but fell in the final with Senegal. Mane has blossomed into one of the world’s best this year – and can aim even higher in 2020.
2 – Virgil van Dijk
He didn’t quite win it but Van Dijk has put in the best calendar year from a defender in over a decade. Honestly, few could have complained if he’d pipped Lionel Messi to the award but it was a very close-run thing. Next year, however, he may be the favourite. A Premier League title and a good run at the Euros with the Netherlands? He may just be unstoppable.