Alexander-Arnold could win Ballon d'Or: Garcia

Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold, 21, has the talent, potential and time to become the fourth defender to win the Ballon d'or.
Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold, 21, has the talent, potential and time to become the fourth defender to win the Ballon d'or. PHOTO: REUTERS

Only three defenders have ever won the prestigious Ballon d'Or, the award that recognises the world's best footballer.

And former Liverpool star Luis Garcia believes Reds right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold has enough talent, potential and time, to join the exclusive group comprising Franz Beckenbauer, Matthias Sammer and Fabio Cannavaro.

Garcia, 41, was in town this week as a club ambassador for the launch of the Liverpool official store at Bugis Junction.

When asked how far he felt 21-year-old Alexander-Arnold could develop, Garcia told The Sunday Times on Friday: "Well, it's a long call yet.

"He's very young, he's got so much room to improve.

"We are so delighted to see how he's becoming better and better, and more influential in games, even from right-back.

"And yeah, why not? He could be one of those players to make history and get the Ballon d'Or playing as a defender."

The annual Ballon d'Or award, which was first awarded in 1956, is traditionally won by attackers.

German legend Beckenbauer bucked the trend twice, in 1972 and 1976, as a libero.

His compatriot Matthias Sammer was also named the winner in 1996 playing as a sweeper.

Italian centre-back Cannavaro won the 2006 award after leading the Azzurri to World Cup glory.

Originally, the award was for players from Europe. In 1995, it was expanded to include all players at European clubs.

It became a global prize in 2007 with all players from around the world being eligible.

Liverpool defensive linchpin Virgil van Dijk came close to joining the select group last year, but was pipped by just seven points by Lionel Messi - who picked up his sixth award.

Alexander-Arnold's most celebrated contribution was the pass for Divock Origi to score the final goal in the 4-0 win over Barcelona in the second leg of last season's Champions League semi-final. It sealed a 4-3 aggregate win, with Liverpool going on to beat Tottenham and lift their sixth European title.


Correction note: This story has been updated for accuracy.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 12, 2020, with the headline 'Alexander-Arnold could win Ballon d'Or: Garcia'. Print Edition | Subscribe