Can Bale shock Ballon d’Or running and beat Real Madrid teammate Ronaldo?
Can Bale odds shock Ballon d’Or betting?
For the first time in a few years, there seems a realistic chance for an outsider to break into the Ballon d’Or stranglehold of modern day football greats Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Between them the duo have clinched all of the last eight of FIFA’s annual top prize for best footballer in Europe in its various forms, with Barcelona’s Messi leading on five and his Real Madrid counterpart close behind on three.
It would be romantic for Ronaldo to edge closer to Messi with a fourth individual crown, but Los Blancos clubmate Gareth Bale may be about to tear up the script.
Can the Welsh wonder finally be the one to shock the running, or is the award already Portugal skipper Ronaldo’s? Will a Brit win it for the first time since Michael Owen’s success in 2001?
Here at Coral, our experts bring you not only brilliant Bale odds but outline six of the main players’ chances in Ballon d’or betting, after what has been an astonishing year in the sport.
So, roll out the red carpet for these superstars and read on to see why Wales posterboy Bale is best value…
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid and Portugal)
Booed by the Bernabeu for a recent miss, Ronaldo may not be flavour of the month with his own fans but is a heavy odds-on 1/9 favourite with Coral in Ballon d’Or betting.
Ronaldo helped himself to a third Champions League title, and Real to an 11th, in 2016, which was one of his many achievements.
With 51 goals in 48 club outings across all competitions, Ronaldo not only scored the CL-winning penalty against fierce Spanish capital rivals Atletico Madrid, but was once again top scorer with 16 in the continental competition – allowing him to romp past Messi in the charts as all-time leading European Cup marksman.
It was a year for breaking records, as rampant Ronaldo also overtook Real legend Raul to be his side’s all-time top scorer last autumn.
As for his nation, Ronaldo helped propel Portugal to their first ever major silverware, with an underdog victory at Euro 2016, and also became the first ever player to notch in four separate European Championship finals. Though, will the skipper’s failure to compete in the final due to injury and recent criticised club form hamper his chances?
Gareth Bale (Real Madrid and Wales)
Bale’s roll of honour for the past year arguably carries as much weight, at least at international level, where the Wales wizard inspired his country to their first major finals since 1958. This fantastic feat has us rating Bale odds of 20/1 for a maiden Ballon d’or win – a generous outsider tip you won’t want to miss!
The former Spurs superstar’s Euro adventure may not have ended in trophy glory like for Ronaldo, but Bale was Wales’ protagonist in a historic run for the Dragons, winning fans across the globe as he spearheaded the dark horses’ to the semi-finals.
Bale bagged three in the Euros and has continued on to rack up another three in as many 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Not bad.
As for club level, Bale arguably outshone clubmate Ronaldo in the showpiece 2016 Champions League final, providing an assist for Real’s only goal of the game before also keeping his cool to convert in the spot-kick shootout.
While, in the past 12 months, Bale also etched his name into record books by becoming the highest scoring British player in La Liga history.
Lionel Messi (Barcelona and Argentina)
Of course we couldn’t forget to mention Messi, who fired Argentina to a second successive Copa del Rey final, only to miss out once more and briefly hang his boots up for La Albiceleste – before reversing his decision to enter the international wilderness.
Still, the electric Argentine has clocked up seven in nine for his nation in 2016, so is a sweet 6/1 second favourite after rival Ronaldo to enjoy Ballon d’Or success.
With Copa del Rey and La Liga titles celebrated in 2016 too, and 14 strikes in 11 Barca games this season, the maestro may benefit from being back to his best at a crucial point.
Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid and France)
Quiet man in the race Griezmann has also enjoyed an extraordinary year too, and rightly provides impressive Atletico Madrid with a representative among nominees who are realistically in the running.
Odds of 6/1 may be worth grabbing for Griezmann glory, as the only non Real or Barca player on our La Liga dominated list. The France forward’s goals knocked then reigning champions Barcelona and big-guns Bayern Munich out of the CL in 2016, which is no mean feat.
Showing great mettle, despite an earlier penalty miss, Griezmann went on to score in the CL final shootout, then took his formidable form back onto home soil with the Euro 2016 finals in France. Griezmann’s six goals earned him the tournament Golden Boot and took France to the final.
Now part of a prolific Atletico pairing alongside countryman Kevin Gameiro, Griezmann was recently crowned best La Liga player for last season. Is it a sign of things to come, with Ronaldo and Messi overlooked?
Luis Suarez (Barcelona and Uruguay)
Suarez’s rise and redemption continues, as the Uruguay international is arguably becoming Barcelona’s best player – not an easy task when playing in a terrifying trident with Messi and Neymar.
Instrumental as he came into his own at the Nou Camp last season, Suarez’s whopping 59 goals in 53 outings in all competitions were crucial in Copa del rey and La Liga success.
At 10/1 the electric Uruguayan’s awesome odds certainly deserve a second look, as he arguably outperformed Messi and Ronaldo in Spain last season.
La Celeste’s premature Copa America elimination could count against the controversial character, though.
Neymar (Barcelona and Brazil)
Finally, Neymar is on offer and the last of our six picks in Ballon d’Or betting at 16/1. The bombastic Brazil talisman continues to be a lightning rod for both Barca and the Samba Boys, though his absence is more keenly felt by the latter.
Barcelona’s domestic double aids Neymar’s cause, but his Olympic Gold medal triumph is what sets this South American nominee apart.
As captain on home turf in Rio, Neymar found the net in all of Brazil’s quarters, semis and final showdowns, also notching the winning penalty against Germany to give his country a first ever football Gold. Can that victory push last year’s Ballon d’Or third place finisher up in the voting?
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