How Firmino could have a say in who wins this year’s Ballon d’Or

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Roberto Firmino has been a vitally important cog in Jürgen Klopp’s Red machine this season, scoring 16 goals and registering eight assists, as well as unquantifiably contributing with his build-up play and relentless pressing.

As part of the Reds fearsome front three, the Brazilian 27-year-old stylishly helped the Reds to a 97-point finish in the Premier League and gloriously finished the season with a Champions League trophy.

After ending the season with European triumph, Firmino flew out to his native Brazil to contest the Copa América with A Seleção and has similarly sparkled for Tite’s squad.

His two goals and three assists in the tournament represent the best return out of any other player in the competition; with his effective contributions, Bobby will now be contesting yet another final, together with Alisson Becker.

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At the same time, by firing Brazil to victory over Lionel Messi’s Argentina, you could make the somewhat outlandish claim that this fact potentially gives Virgil van Dijk a slight advantage in the race for the Ballon d’Or, since the Barcelona star is now left with the La Liga title as their only main prize.

Of course, were Sadio Mané or Mohamed Salah to win the Africa Cup of Nations, they too would likely see their names closer to the top of the list, despite Messi’s name deservedly being touted.

Some have even clamoured for the Reds No. 9 to be included in a Ballon d’Or shortlist alongside Virgil van Dijk, Salah, Mané, and Alisson – the latter has also been suggested as a serious contender after some truly majestic goalkeeping performances for club and country.

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Of course, it’s quite unlikely that Bobby will actually take home the coveted award, but after lifting the Champions League trophy with the Reds and in with a chance of winning the Copa América he’s in the conversation.

Equally, by that logic Alisson would also be a fair consideration for the award, particularly since Luka Modric ended the decade-long Messi-Cristiano Ronaldo duopoly by winning the Ballon d’Or last year.

By guiding Croatia to the World Cup final as Player of the Tournament, and after winning the Champions League, he demonstrated that it is possible for someone else to step up and be counted.

The Copa América is not the World Cup, admittedly, but to even be in the reckoning is no small feat, and to have no less than five Reds being in with a shout (however marginal) is something to be enourmously proud of.

More Stories argentina Brazil Copa America Lionel Messi Liverpool Mohamed Salah Roberto Firmino Sadio Mane Virgil van Dijk