One of the factors that is supposedly driving Eden Hazard into the arms of Real Madrid is the Ballon d’Or, which, thanks to the dominance of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, has gone to La Liga players for each of the past ten years — before that period, players in Italy dominated the awards (Shevchenko, Nedved, Zidane, Baggio, Van Basten, Matthäus, Gullit, Platini), while before then most recipients came from Germany (Rummenigge, Keegan, Beckenbauer), but I digress.
But we also know that one of Eden’s favorite things is to play down individual awards and recognition. He’s out there just to have fun and win some things.
“Even though I had a very good year, I have to keep my feet on the ground. I do not deserve the Ballon d’Or. I think there are players who have been better than me.
”Winning the Ballon d’Or is not a goal for me. If I win it one day, great. If I do not, it won’t be a problem.”
Unlike for FIFA’s semi-equivalent “The Best” awards, there is no player- or public-vote component to the Ballon d’Or, but if it were up to Hazard, he’d vote for neither Messi, nor Cristiano Ronaldo, nor the consensus favorite, Luke Modrić, to receive football’s biggest individual recognition this December 3rd.
“I would have said Luka Modric but he has played a little less well since August and September. So, if we take into account the beginning of the season, I would say Kylian Mbappe.”
Hazard actually voted for Modrić in the 2018 FIFA awards, placing Raphael Varane second and Mbappé only third. Mbappé does have 13 goals in 13 games in all competitions this season, so his rise in Hazard’s rankings is fairly understandable.
Hazard himself has slowed down in the goalscoring department after a hot start, but hopefully he’ll get back into the swing of things after the international break, especially as Chelsea as a team have scored just once in the last two matches as well.