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Neymar, Pogba, Coutinho - who'll break Ronaldo, Messi's hold on awards?

Neymar, Pogba, Coutinho - who'll break Ronaldo, Messi's hold on awards?
From ESPN - December 7, 2017

The Best FIFA Men's Player awardhad a familiar look with Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar once again sharing the podium when it comes to a top individual prize.

Ronaldo walked away with it, again, and no player other than Ronaldo or Messi has won either the Ballon d'Or or FIFA's award since 2007, when Kaka scooped up both prizes for his Champions League-winning exploits with AC Milan.

But while it probably wo not be at the 2017 Ballon d'Or, the duopoly of Ronaldo, 32, and 30-year-old Messi has to end at some time -- who will be the next new name to be heralded as the world's best player, and when will it happen? ESPN FC's club correspondents share their thoughts.

ARSENAL: Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil are world-class players, but it would be a stretch to call either a genuine candidate. Both can be unplayable on their day, but both also have flaws and too many dips in form to be counted among the game's true elite. And behind them, there's still a big gap in quality at Arsenal. -- Mattias Karen

BARCELONA: Messi started this season in such fine form that he's already the early favourite for next year's award. After the Argentina captain, Barca will hope to breed another Ballon d'Or winner in Ousmane Dembele. Arsene Wenger's already tipped the France international -- who came third in the running for the 2017 Golden Boy award-- as a potential winner of the most coveted prize and Barca were certainly thinking in the same way when they spent over 100 million on him. -- Sam Marsden

BAYERN MUNICH:Realistically, there is no one in line when you consider goalkeeper Manuel Neuer should have won this after almost single-handedly leading Germany to 2014 World Cup glory. Robert Lewandowski -- who expressed his disillusionment with the process in an interview with ESPN FC -- would have a minor sniff of honours in the future, but only if he left the German champions and scored 40 goals for Real Madrid, firing them to another Champions League success. -- Mark Lovell

CHELSEA:Eden Hazard was the Premier League's outstanding attacking player last season and the main man in Chelsea's title triumph under Jose Mourinho two seasons previously. Still only 26, the Belgium forward could be a strong contender if Messi and Ronaldo begin to wind down in two or three years' time, but he will need to deliver in the Champions League to stand a chance of breaking the duopoly. -- Greg Lea

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