As the world waits for the announcement of the name of the winner of Ballon d'Or 2019, the supreme question that is running through every football followers' mind is - will it be Virgil Van Dijk's first or Lionel Messi's sixth?
All of their questions will be answered on Monday, December 2 at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris.
France Football provides this prestigious award to the best player of the year which Messi and his long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo has won five times each. But this time around, the sublime Portuguese is out of the equation as Liverpool centre-back Van Dijk and Messi fight it out among themselves.
Many sources have tipped Lionel Messi to win his sixth ahead of Van Dijk, as reports suggest that two representatives were in Spain to meet Messi and to take the winner's interview. Messi won FIFA's 'The Best' award earlier in the year and it is a regular sight in the recent years that whoever wins it from FIFA, wins it at Paris. But one thing Messi lacks in is the silverware, where the ingenious Argentine only managed to win the La Liga in the last season. His club FC Barcelona were knocked-out by Van Dijk's Liverpool in the semi-finals of the Champions League and also lost in the final of the Copa del Rey.
Even with the national side, Messi failed to lead them to glory in the Copa America, where they were knocked out from the semi-finals by hosts Brazil. Messi then was sent off in the third-place decider match against Chile and also got suspended for claiming that the tournament was set up for Brazil to win.
But this did not stop Messi from winning 'The Best' award from FIFA, even though he missed out on UEFA's award for the best player of last season's Champions League. Messi also claimed a record sixth Golden Boot for scoring the most number of goals in Europe in 2018-19. Messi has also been brilliant this season around as he has somehow managed to keep a clueless Barcelona ticking.
Van Dijk, on the other hand, won the Champions League with Liverpool and also finished runners-up behind Manchester City in the Premier League with an astounding 97 points. He also led his nation, Netherlands, to the final of the UEFA Nations League, but lost to Portugal in the final.
He claimed the award for the best player and best defender in the Champions League but missed out to Lionel Messi in the FIFA 'The Best' award. Van Dijk's performance have gone a bit downhill this season, but still, his team is in the top of the Premier League table by a fair margin without conceding a defeat and drawing only one match.
Cristiano Ronaldo is considered almost out of the equation this season after he only managed to win the Serie A where he was adjudged Most Valuable Player. He also won the UEFA Nations League with Portugal, but it was Bernardo Silva who was more prominent for Portugal to lift the trophy.
Other noteworthy candidates include Van Dijk's Liverpool teammate Alisson Becker and Sadio Mane, along with Manchester City star Bernardo Silva.
Alisson not only won the Champions League with Liverpool but also won the Copa America with his native Brazil, with him being adjudged the best goalkeeper in both occasions. He was also recognised by the best goalkeeper by FIFA in September.
Besides his heroics in the Champions League, Sadio Mane also led Senegal to the final of the African Cup of Nations but failed to lift the silverware as they lost to Algeria. He was a key player for Liverpool throughout last season and current, where he has taken the mantle of leadership in attack when Mohamed Salah was deemed unfit.
Even though Lionel Messi has been tipped to be the winner this time around, many have said that Van Dijk deserves it more, which includes Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp. Klopp has said that if the award had to be won by the best player of the decade, it would be Messi but if the award went to the best player of last year, it had to be Van Dijk.
The wait ends soon and the questions will be answered. It might be a record sixth for the gifted Argentine, but it would be no surprise if the towering Dutch won it for the first time.
All everyone has to do now is wait, to see who gets the holy grail of 2019.