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Rivaldo reveals who could be Brazil’s next Ballon d’Or winner

Rivaldo, Ballon d'Or
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Kaka was the last Brazilian player to win the prestigious accolade in 2007.

Real Madrid attacker Vinicius Junior could be the next Brazilian to win the Ballon d’Or, according to Rivaldo.

The World Cup winner is one of the four Brazilian footballers to have claimed the Ballon d’Or after Ronaldo Nazario, Ronaldinho, and Kaka. He won the award in 1999 during his time in Barcelona.

The last Brazilian to win the Ballon d’Or was AC Milan star Kaka in 2007, and while Rivaldo expects the South American nation’s drought to continue for a 15th year in 2022, he sees light at the end of the tunnel in Vinicius.

Can Vinicius win the Ballon d’Or in 2023?

In his Betfair column, Rivaldo spoke openly about the 21-year-old’s chances of winning the award in 2023 and succeeding Karim Benzema – the favorite for this year’s Ballon d’Or – at Real Madrid.

“After a fantastic season with Real Madrid, in which he scored the goal that won the Champions League, I can only hope the young Brazilian attacker continues to develop in this way,” the former Barcelona and AC Milan forward said.

“He has improved a lot in front of goal, and if he continues like this, he can claim to be the star of Real Madrid. Karim Benzema will retire one day.

“It’s hard to name favorites [for the Ballon d’Or] when the season hasn’t started, but I don’t see him behind Kylian Mbappe, Kevin De Bruyne, and others. The titles that each club wins will be very important in the final choice.”

How did he do last season?

Vinicius signed off on a stellar campaign in 2021/22 by scoring the only goal in Real Madrid’s 1-0 win over Liverpool in the Champions League final in May.

The Brazil international managed 22 goals and 20 assists in 52 appearances across all competitions. Kylian Mbappe (60), Karim Benzema (59), Christopher Nkunku (51), and Mohamed Salah (46) were the only players from Europe’s top five leagues to be involved in more goals.