Lionel Messi is not just the favorite to win this year’s Ballon d’Or, he’s becoming the prohibitive favorite. He was already the one the betting companies were behind prior to winning the Copa América, and event since have only turbo boosted him further.
Messi already has six of the sport’s top individual honor, a record. But he is looking likelier and likelier to secure his seventh.
His odds were already quoted at 2/1 (implied odds: 33.34%) before either the Copa América or Euro final, and now they are at an impressive 1/2 (implied odds: 66.67%). Having won that elusive major honor with Argentina, in addition to top assister, top goalscorer, and best player, Messi has cemented a huge season.
Messi also has the most goal contributions this year, with 33 goals and 14 assists, for a total of 49. Robert Lewandowski is second, with 34 goals and 4 assists, for a total of 38.
Messi did not win La Liga last season, but he was instrumental in FC Barcelona’s Copa del Rey success.
At the beginning of last month, Kylian Mbappé was seen as the Ballon d’Or favorite. However, he was not good at the Euros and missed a crucial penalty that sent France home. Lewandowski was in second place, and another Frenchman, N’Golo Kanté, in third. Kanté’s bid depended on following up an UEFA Champions League win with Chelsea with European glory with France, but his chances plummeted when Mbappé missed.
Several other potential candidates who depended on a win at the Euros to cement their bid crashed out such as Cristiano Ronaldo for Portugal and Kevin de Bruyne for Belgium. Out of the rubble, a few new candidates emerged such as Harry Kane for England and Jorginho for Italy.
However, the Euro final was not the kind of big step they needed to catch up with Messi’s tournament win and individual accolades. Kane was not able to continue scoring or make a run for the tournament Golden Boot, and he lost the final. Jorginho did win the final, but he didn’t really sparkle and missed a chance to definitively win it for Italy by missing his penalty in the shootout. Gianluigi Donnarumma being named the tournament’s best player was good for Messi’s odds as well, as he is not considered a Ballon d’Or candidate.
As it stands, Messi is the mega favorite. Lewandowski and Ronaldo are considered to be second and third favorites, but they will have a difficult time catching up after all the major silverware has already been handed out this year.