Ex-United striker AXES Messi, Ronaldo in Ballon d’Or front three

MANCHESTER United legend Robin van Persie has added his voice to the never-ending Lionel Messi-Cristiano Ronaldo saga by controversially omitting the duo from his top three for the 2020 Ballon d’Or award in response to a recent social media quiz.

Read: Solskjær wants star midfielder to stay longer at United

For the last decade and a bit, Messi and Ronaldo have made the highest individual football prize on earth their own – claiming the last 11 awards between them – with Luka Modrić the only man to break the pattern after he won it in 2018. Ahead of this year’s awards, van Persie does not believe either man should add to their tally, with Lionel Messi on a record six awards while Ronaldo boasts five.

Robin van Persie leaves Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo out of ...
Manchester United legend Robin van Persie does not believe Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi fit the bill as 2020 Ballon d’Or contenders (Image: Sourced).

Messi reclaimed the award last year, after winning it last in 2015, to put him ahead of his rival. Replying to a BT Sport tweet, van Persie revealed Robert Lewandowski, Kevin de Bruyne and Sadio Mane, in that order, would be his current front runners. A proven performer this season, Lewandowski is enjoying yet another incredible campaign with Bayern Munich; helping them to a domestic double, including an eighth Bundesliga title in a row, last month.

The Pole is tipped remarkably high to win a Champions League medal in August with the German champions as fore-runners for Europe’s biggest club prize. There is little doubt, meanwhile, of how good the De Bruyne has been this season, despite his Manchester City relinquishing the Premier League title to Liverpool this season.

Man City star Kevin De Bruyne names Liverpool's Sadio Mane as his ...
Kevin De Bruyne and Sadio Mane have arguably, in Roin van Persie’s book, been two of the best players in Europe this season (Image: Sourced).

With 10 goals and 18 assists in the league alone, so far, the former Chelsea midfielder is favourite for the PFA Player of the Season award having already won the Carabao Cup. Pep Guardiola’s side will also no doubt have their eyes on a cup treble with the FA Cup and Champions League to come. Should The Citizens pull this off, De Bruyne could be well in line for the Ballon d’Or.

Now with a Premier League winner’s medal attached to his already highly-vaunted status in England, Mané, whose stats are worse-off compared to his teammate Mo Salah – 16 goals and seven assists to Salah’s 18 goals and nine assists – has arguably been more instrumental to the title success. The Senegal international has been proving to be a player of note, on a consistent basis, in the ranks of a Liverpool side which is showing no signs of letting up as they look to break and set all manner of records in their wake.

Do you agree with van Persie’s assessment for the 2020 Ballon d’Or prize? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below.