Despite Messi’s 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.