With only three defenders ever winning the Ballon d’Or, the skewed nature of the award has been criticized on numerous occasions. It has primarily been a goal-scoring award. Stats that reflect direct and indirect goal contributions often carry more weight than stats that demonstrate the rearguard’s solidity and impenetrability.
Only nine defenders have been on the podium for the Ballon d’Or award, and each time the odds were stacked against them. When one observes the young and promising talent of this generation, one is only willing to bring forwards and wingers into the discussion of potential Ballon d’Or winners.
Some exciting defenders have a chance to win the Ballon d’Or in the future.
However, some defenders play for some of Europe’s top clubs and have been crucial to their teams’ domestic and continental success. They are in high demand throughout Europe, and clubs recognize that their quality can only be purchased with a large sum of money.
These defenders have met the demands of the modern game and have taken pride in their respective positions. The majority of them play for clubs that compete for every trophy they can get their hands on, which increases their chances of winning the Ballon d’Or. On that note, here are five defenders who have the potential to win the Ballon d’Or in the future:
Number 5: Jules Kounde
She was born in Paris, adored in Seville, and desired in England. Jules Kounde is off to a fast start in his career for a 22-year-old. The Sevilla defender is one of the most highly rated and expensive defenders today, and his fame is well deserved.
Kounde, a ball-playing defender who enjoys charging down the field to assist with quicker transitions, meets the demands of the modern game. He uses his nimble feet to dribble past players with great effect. Doesn’t the Ballon d’Or prize statistics? Last season, Kounde had 30 successful dribbles in La Liga, and his skills were a joy to watch.
Last season, the Sevilla star attempted more passes (2351) than any other centre-half in La Liga. His successful short passes (2024) were also higher than the division’s other defenders. Even though he isn’t the tallest or has the most commanding physique, his giant leap makes him an aerial threat throughout the game.
5 Champions League champions Chelsea are the frontrunners for the Frenchman’s signature. Kounde has already begun to play for the French national team and was instrumental in their UEFA Nations League victory.
A move to Chelsea or a more competitive club both domestically and in the Champions League would almost certainly improve his chances of winning the Ballon d’Or.
Number 4: Achraf Hakimi
PSG may have signed Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos, and Gianluigi Donnarumma, among others, but Achraf Hakimi appears to be the best of the bunch. Messi appears to be on track to add the seventh Ballon d’Or to his collection, but his teammate believes he is a deserving candidate for the future.
The Real Madrid academy graduate appeared in only 17 games for the Spanish giants. However, from his hometown club, Hakimi’s performances have vaulted him to the top of the world’s best full-backs list. The right-back was a revelation for Antonio Conte at Inter Milan, and he was one of the club’s most important players during their title-winning season last year.
His lightning-quick pace frequently leaves defenders gasping for air. He enjoys cutting in from the right flank, and his eye for goal is exceptional. Hakimi had seven goals and ten assists for Inter last season, and three goals and ten assists for Dortmund the previous season. Numbers should impress those who award the Ballon d’Or each year if they decide to prioritize defenders.
His quick and intelligent backtracking ensures that being on the offensive front does not cost his team in defense. He has justified his €60 million price tag, and the 23-year-price old’s will only rise from here.
Number 3: Alphonso Davies
If being the fastest player on the football field was a requirement for winning the Ballon d’Or, Alphonso Davies would already have the trophy on display at home. Last year, he teased us with a glimpse of his true potential, which left football fans in awe of the 21-year-old.
Davies, a great ball dribbler who is comfortable moving with it at speed, enjoys taking on defenders one-on-one. Over the course of 90 minutes, his average position is sometimes in the opposition half, and he is ridiculously effective in the final third.
At the age of 20, the Canadian star was named to the FIFA World Best XI, demonstrating that he has the potential to compete for the Ballon d’Or in the future. His stats don’t do justice to the fantastic football he plays. He was a key member of Bayern Munich’s treble-winning squad in 2019-20.
The longer he is associated with the Bavarians, the better his chances of collecting trophies and remaining in contention for the Ballon d’Or. Davies has been extremely productive in his 28 appearances for Canada, scoring 10 goals and assisting on 16 others.
Number 2: Trent Alexander-Arnold
So frequently regarded as the best right-back in the Premier League, if not Europe. Trent Alexander- Arnold has a slew of fans and admirers who want to see him win the Ballon d’Or. He is one of a rare breed of defenders who bring an abundance of creativity to a team.
He never tires of firing crosses and sending passes from the wide-right side while strolling beyond the halfway line. He has also produced many high-quality moments in dead-ball situations.
The 23-year-old has previously demonstrated his ability to produce a season that meets the criteria for the Ballon d’Or. Alexander-Arnold burst onto the scene in Liverpool’s Champions League-winning 2018-19 season, with 16 assists and one goal in 40 games.
He finished the 2019-20 Premier League season with four goals and 13 assists in 38 games. In comparison, during Luka Modric’s Ballon d’Or-winning season, the No.10 scored two goals and provided nine assists in 43 games.
The Reds remain formidable under Jurgen Klopp, and as long as their chances of winning silverware remain, the right-chances back’s of winning the Ballon d’Or remain. Alexander-Arnold made the shortlist in 2019 and will only get closer to winning the award in the future.
Number 1: Ruben Dias
If Jose Mourinho refers to you like the best center-back in the world and you win Premier League Player of the Season in your first season, you are truly exceptional. What makes the winner of the Ballon d’Or so special? Ruben Dias, for one, cannot be left out of the list of defenders with a chance to win the Ballon d’Or.
The defender moved from SL Benfica to Manchester City without hesitation. He was aware of his responsibilities and delivered on their game after game. The city reached its first Champions League final, losing to Chelsea in May, with Dias commanding the backline.
The Portuguese midfielder has been a towering figure for Manchester City, even wearing the captain’s armband occasionally. City kept a clean sheet in 25 of his 50 appearances for them last season.
The defender isn’t afraid to go shoulder to shoulder with anyone, and his tackles are confident, and his anticipation helps him make crucial interceptions. He has been essential for City in aerial duels and effectively clears the threat in the air. Man City won 78% of their games with him last season.
Dias has made the Ballon d’Or 2021 shortlist of 30, but his chances of finishing on the podium are nil. Dias, on the other hand, has the potential to knock on the doors of the Ballon d’Or in the future.