Why La Liga Top Scorer Luis Suarez is Ballon d'Or 2016 Favorite Over Messi and Ronaldo
For the first time in six years, someone not named Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi has won the famed Pichichi award for most goals scored in a single season. Luis Suarez took the award, hitting 40 goals on the year and leading Barcelona to a second-straight La Liga title.
Incidentally, the last time that that happened the winner was a Uruguayan named Diego Forlan. But even then Forlan could not stop those two unbeatable forces from taking home the biggest trophy of all - the Ballon d'Or.
Why Suarez Will Win
That is something that his fellow countryman Suarez might rectify come January.
Suarez, who still has a long way to go before crowning himself the winner of the annual trophy, has made a huge case for the win in many big ways.
His scoring feat is huge to be sure, but Suarez was the catalyst for Barcelona, helping them through a period in which the team almost relinquished the title. Even in its Champions League quarterfinals defeat against Atletico Madrid, he provided the team's only offense.
And once Barcelona got out of its four-game slump, Suarez put up a whopping 14 goals and four assists in the final five matches to seal the trophy. He had three hat tricks in that span, bringing his total for the year to six.
Since the calendar turned to 2016, Suarez has an astounding 33 goals and 15 assists. Those numbers eclipse both Messi and Ronaldo's feats to start 2016 with Suarez's Barcelona teammate racking up 29 goals and 16 assists. Ronaldo has 27 goals and eight assists thus far.
Suarez has one trophy to his name and a second looking very likely; Ronaldo has yet to take home any silverware for Real Madrid in 2016.
Copa America Could Be the Clincher
And yet the top scorer in La Liga could still cement his place this summer when he takes the field with Uruguay in the Copa America. He has not played a major tournament with his country since the 2014 World Cup and is fresher than a lot of other major superstars who have worked themselves into the ground in recent years. If Suarez remains at this peak form, there is no doubt that he could lead the nation to tremendous success in the tournament. A win would all but clinch the Ballon d'Or for Suarez.
And yet the book has not been written completely just yet.
Ronaldo and Messi's Chances Lie with Summer Tournaments
Ronaldo could win the Euro 2016 with Portugal, as unlikely as that might sound. If he also wins the Champions League for Madrid in a few weeks time, then that will help prop up his position all the more. Throw in more goals at the year's close and this could be his big comeback year.
Messi of course might still have something to say as well. He could lead Argentina to its first tournament win in decades as well topping Suarez in the trophy count. He will likely continue scoring goals at a solid rate as the year comes to a close and also prop up his possibilities. Messi is already a big favorite and all it would take for him is a Copa win to prolong his run as the Ballon d'Or champion.
But at the moment neither him nor Ronaldo are the favorites. At the moment Suarez is the best in the world.