Tuesday, July 17, 2018 | Updated at 3:16 PM ET

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ballon d'or

Cristiano Ronaldo is poised to win his fourth Ballon d'Or and his crowning of the award might not even have to wait until January. In fact, that might become a mere formality after August 25. On that day, Ronaldo will likely win the Best Player in Europe Award. But will he be a shoe-in for that award?

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Is Lionel Messi declining already?

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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.

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Lionel Messi has now won the Ballon d'Or five times in his career, adding to his record-breaking total. While Messi will undoubtedly be seen as one of the favorites moving forward, it is possible that the superstar may he spot superseded in 2016. Cristiano Ronaldo has been his bitter rival for years in this competition, but Ronaldo looks like his precipitous decline could come to take him down rather quickly, making room for other major competitors. Here are the top contenders for next year's Ballon d'Or, one year away from the awards ceremony.

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Lionel Messi won his first Ballon d'Or, cementing himself as the only player to win as many individual awards. He had already made the record books with his fourth win back in 2012, but Cristiano Ronaldo had crept within one with two straight wins in 2013 and 2014. However, that mountain will be harder to climb now for the Portuguese player who is seemingly starting his decline.

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Lionel Messi cemented his position as the Ballon d'Or winner on Thursday by winning the UEFA Best Player in Europe for 2014-15.

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Neymar finished his season with Barcelona scoring 40 goals including tallies in the finals of the Copa del Rey and Champions League. He had the kind of year that is often considered legendary and seemed on his way to being a finalist for the 2015 Ballon d'Or.

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The 2014-15 season will come to an end this weekend with the Champions League final. The summer festivities will then get underway with the Copa America and Euro Cup qualifiers. The Ballon d'Or conversations will also get underway as a means of seeing which players have emerged at the halfway mark of the year. Here is an early preview with the nominees less than six months away from being announced.

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The New Year has been putrid for Real Madrid's talisman as he not only cannot find the back of the net, but is struggling to make any real impact on the pitch for his team. And now that he has turned 30, the conversation has started to shift toward when his inevitable decline would begin. Might his current slump indicate that his decline is already underway?

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Cristiano Ronaldo has been suspended two games because of his actions last week against Cordoba. With Ronaldo out, Lionel Messi and Barcelona must take advantage of this golden opportunity. Now we get to see Ronaldo's true value, and just how good his teammates are.

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It was another great soccer week in La Liga. Both Real Madrid and Barcelona picked up big wins, but Atletico Madrid lost. For the first time in a long, Cristiano Ronaldo was held scoreless. Latin Post.com breaks down Week 18 of the 2014-15 La Liga season.

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Anytime that the idea of best player in the world is brought up the list starts and ends with two names - Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. When looking at 2014, picking the top player between Messi and Ronaldo seems like a futile and uninteresting task. So instead, Latin Post.com's David Salazar and Edwin Molina, as part of our Best of Soccer in 2014 feature series, are looking at players not named Ronaldo or Messi, who deserve some credit in 2014.

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Lionel Messi and Barcelona defeated Córdoba to win their 12th game of the season. With that victory, Barcelona is just one win behind Real Madrid in the La Liga standings. The defending champions, Atletico Madrid, had a great week as well.

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On Monday, FIFA finally announced the three finalists for the 2014 Ballon d'Or which will be handed out in January. Voting has already closed, so the winner has already been determined. But will Cristiano Ronaldo beat out Lionel Messi? Or will Manuel Neuer pull away with the trophy?

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Last year, Franck Ribery was among the top three performers in the world and was seen as a contender to win the Ballon d'Or. Much to his dismay, that never occurred, but it represented a huge step for French soccer as the country had not seen a player given as much honor since the days of Zinedine Zidane. Those days could be back in full force with Paul Pogba. The French midfielder is only 21 but is making waves with his first Ballon d'Or shortlist. But has he accomplished enough in 2014 to win it all?

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Goalkeepers rarely get major recognition in personal awards. They have arguably the most important position on the pitch, but get less chances to showcase their talent on truly elite teams. This is quandary that faces Manuel Neuer in his Ballon d'Or bid. The German netminder plays for two teams that rarely give up chances, thus limiting his abilities to show off. He still makes splendid saves and won major tournaments in 2014. But is this enough to win the coveted individual trophy?

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