Images appearing to ‘leak’ the results of voting for Ballon d’Or 2019 have emerged on Twitter, showing Barcelona star Lionel Messi as the clear winner.
Voting for the annual award has long-since been concluded, and official confirmation of the winner will be announced on Monday at France Football’s award ceremony in Paris.
It’s expected to be a two-horse race between Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk, and the alleged leaks, coming via Twitter user @BarcaUniversal, corroborate that expectation.
The image shows Messi as the clear winner, with 446 votes to Van Dijk’s 382, while the Dutchman’s Liverpool counterpart Mohamed Salah comes in third on 179 votes.
It’s as yet unclear just how much substance there is to the leak. The document is said to have come from an ‘anonymous source’, and with no definitive indication that it is official, it could easily have been faked simply to generate engagement.
But having said that, if the results did end up being correct, it would come as no real surprise. Messi is expected to win the award after following up a stellar 2018/19 season with ten goals in 13 appearances for Barcelona.
Van Dijk, meanwhile – whose immeasurable defensive influence drove Liverpool to becoming champions of Europe last season – has seen his performances drop off ever-so-slightly, granting Messi the initiative.
He would be a worthy winner if he was to upset the apple-cart, however. His side lost just one league game in the 2018/19 campaign, and have started 2019/20 with a bang, sitting 11 points clear of defending champions Manchester City at the 14 game mark.
The same could be said for Salah and Sadio Mané, who each hold positions in the top five according to the leak, either side of Cristiano Ronaldo – the four-time winner set for his lowest ranking since 2010 start to life at Juventus that is indifferent by his own standards.