'Bernardo Silva will succeed Messi and Ronaldo in Ballon d'Or race'

The Manchester City midfielder has been backed to become the world’s best player once the two stars that have dominated this era retire

Manchester City and Portugal star Bernardo Silva will win the Ballon d’Or when Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo begin to show signs of decline or retire, according to former Selecao star Paulo Futre.

Silva featured in 51 matches for City in their treble-winning campaign of 2018-19 as the club won the Premier League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup while also reaching the Champions League quarter-finals

The Portuguese star was vital in a number of City performances, including a key Premier League victory over Liverpool that turned the title race, and Silva was voted City’s Player of the Season by supporters as a result of his performances.

Silva also helped Portugal to Nations League glory earlier this month, having assisted Cristiano Ronaldo’s second goal in a 3-1 win over Switzerland in the semi-final round.

He then assisted Goncalo Guedes’ winner in the finale as Portugal took down the Netherlands to win the inaugural Nations League crown.

And now, the 24-year-old has been tipped by Futre to become the next leading star in world football after Messi and Ronaldo – aged 32 and 34, respectively – fall out of the spotlight.

Futre, who earned 41 caps for Portugal and represented the likes of Porto, Atletico Madrid and AC Milan at club level, told Omnisport: “I think Bernardo will be the next star, or he will be when Ronaldo and Messi start to decline.

`”I think Bernardo will be one of those who will be ready to win the Ballon d’Or, because he is a player with a lot of responsibility in a great team like Manchester City.

“He will continue to grow and in two or three years, when Messi and Cristiano retire, I think he can be one of the big favourites to win the Ballon d’Or.”

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric ended the decade-long reign of Messi and Ronaldo by winning the Ballon d’Or for the first time last December, earning the award after winning the Champions League while guiding Croatia to the World Cup final against France.

This season, Virgil van Dijk has been earmarked as a player that could win, as the Liverpool star is seen as a contender to become the first defender to win the award since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.

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