Despite his dominance of the award alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, the Argentine has dropped down the list and finished outside the top three
Lionel Messi has failed to make the top three of the Ballon d’Or for the first time since 2007, finishing fifth in this year’s final vote.
Luka Modric is being tipped to become the first player not named Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo to claim the award since Kaka beat the pair to it 11 years ago.
Messi and Ronaldo have each won the Ballon d’Or five times, and while the Portuguese star once again looks likely to make the podium thanks to another Champions League crown with Real Madrid, the Argentine hero has dropped much further down the list.
France’s World Cup heroes Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe appear to have collected enough votes to overtake the Barcelona icon, who won La Liga and the Copa del Rey in 2018 but was unable to make an impact in the Champions League or the international showpiece in Russia.
The Catalan side crashed out of the European competition at the quarter-final stage, while Argentina were knocked out of the World Cup by an Mbappe-led France in the second round.
Nevertheless, Messi is on 45 goals from 50 appearances for club and country in 2018, though he has not featured for the latter since the World Cup. This season, he has netted 15 times and made eight assists in 16 games in all competitions.
The 31-year-old collected more votes than Liverpool star Mohamed Salah and Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane, while Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Harry Kane all feature in the top 10.