By Jamie Casey | | 2 mins
Ballon D’or Betting Suspended Amid Reports Messi is ‘Winner’
Online bookmaker 888sport has suspended betting on the 2019 Ballon d’Or market after reports emerged from Spain that Lionel Messi has already been confirmed as the winner ahead of next Monday’s ceremony.
Messi, who is chasing a sixth Ballon d’Or, which would put him ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, has reportedly been told that he will receive the award – which has led to sportsbooks suspending their markets on the outcome.
Before Tuesday’s reports, Messi was actually second favourite to claim the prestigious prize behind Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk, who was an odds-on -250 (2/5) when the shortlist was revealed last month.
Van Dijk helped lead the Reds to the Champions League trophy this year, as well as captaining the Netherlands to the Nations League final. His Liverpool side are currently top of the Premier League too.
Messi guided Barcelona to the La Liga title, though they were knocked out by Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals following an extraordinary, odds-defying comeback by the Reds.
Argentina international Messi has scored over 40 goals for club and country in 2019, and is seeking another Ballon d’Or to add to the ones he won in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.
An 888sport spokesman said: “According to reports, Lionel Messi will be winning his sixth Ballon d’Or next Monday – so we’ve suspended our market.
“The news will be sure to upset Liverpool fans, who would have been hoping that Virgil van Dijk would pick up the trophy after an incredible 2019 for the Reds.”
“However, it seems like Messi will be confirmed for his sixth Ballon d’Or next week – taking him past Cristiano Ronaldo’s tally for the individual award.”