Vinicius Junior? Bellingham? Kroos? Assessing the 2024 Ballon d'Or favourites


As Real Madrid celebrated their Champions League success on Saturday night, attention quickly turned to the individual player awards. Rio Ferdinand made his feelings known on the Ballon d'Or in the 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund, with Vinicius Junior his favourite for the accolade. However, he's not the only Real Madrid star vying for a place in the history books, with Jude Bellingham and Toni Kroos expected to rival the Brazilian. 


Here we assess the credentials of the trio following Saturday's success at Wembley. 


Vinicius Junior 


The current favourite for the Ballon d'Or, Vinicius Junior has enjoyed a remarkable campaign for the La Liga and Champions League winners. The 23-year-old was instrumental in both Spain and on the continent having made the WhoScored La Liga and Champions League team of the season, claiming the player of the tournament award for the latter. 


With 21 goals and nine assists to his name, Vinicius would be a worthy winner of the award, taking over from Lionel Messi in the changing of the guard. What would really tip it over the edge would be Copa America success with Brazil this summer. Dorival Junior's side are one of the favourites to go all the way in USA and a standout tournament with another winners' medal to boot would likely see the young Real Madrid star receive the 2024 Ballon d'Or. 


Vinicius Junior? Bellingham? Kroos? Assessing the 2024 Ballon d'Or favourites


Jude Bellingham 


Jude Bellingham adjusted to the rigours of La Liga football like a duck to water. The England international scored 19 times and provided six assists to return a WhoScored rating of 7.81 last season, that better than any other player. While Bellingham did endure a subdued knockout stage campaign in the Champions League, fact is he registered five assists; no player managed more, with his fifth guaranteeing a 15th major European trophy for Real Madrid. 


Attention now turns to the Euros for Bellingham as he looks to play his part in guiding England to a first trophy since 1966. The Three Lions will fancy their chances of ending that long wait for silverware in Germany and success on the continent for Gareth Southgate's side would surely propel Bellingham into the favourites spot for the Ballon d'Or. 


Toni Kroos 


The sentimental candidate, Toni Kroos called time on a glittering club career at Wembley on Saturday and did so in style as he provided the assist for Dani Carvajal's opening goal at the weekend. One of the best of his generation, Kroos ranked top for both passes per 90 (100.1) and accurate long balls per 90 of outfield players (9.8), and returned the best pass accuracy (94.7%) in La Liga this season, with the German dictating the tempo for Los Blancos. 


He'll hope to really bow on out on a high as he seeks to mastermind European success on home soil this summer. There is renewed confidence that Germany will be crowned European champions for the fourth time following Julian Nagelsmann's appointment in September and if Kroos is able to play his part for Die Mannschaft, then a Ballon d'Or to call time on a wonderful career would be justified.

Vinicius Junior? Bellingham? Kroos? Assessing the 2024 Ballon d'Or favourites