Who is the third best player in the world?
That is the question football fans have been asking for the past decade as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo dominate the sport.
According to Ballon d’Or voting, Fernando Torres, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Franck Ribery, Manuel Neuer, Neymar and Antoine Griezmann were all the third best player in the world at some point.
In 2017, Neymar finished third behind Messi and Ronaldo and he would have seen the World Cup as the perfect stage to close the gap to the two ageing superstars.
And with Messi and Ronaldo crashing out of the tournament at the last-16 stage on the very same day, Neymar knew that if he led Brazil to glory, he would well and truly in the running for the 2018 Ballon d’Or.
However, the Paris-Saint Germain forward produced a disappointing performance as Brazil lost 2-1 to Belgium in their quarter-final.
Instead, it was Belgium’s Eden Hazard that was the best player on the pitch.
Hazard may not have got himself on the scoresheet but his performance - especially in the first-half - was a joy to behold.
And it led to suggestions that Hazard was actually the third best player in the world - not Neymar.
That's a view that Cesc Fabregas certainly appears to agree with.
Fabregas, of course, plays alongside Hazard at Chelsea and on Friday night, he retweeted a tweet that supported the view that only Messi and Ronaldo are better than him.
“The third best player in the world. It’s done. The debate is over,” it read.
After his display vs Brazil, who are we to argue?
A Fernandinho own-goal and a stunning Kevin de Bruyne strike gave Belgium a 2-0 first-half lead before Renato Augusto pulled one back for Tite’s side.
But it was too little too late as Belgium progressed to a semi-final meeting with France.
As for Neymar, his histrionics were on full show once again as he tried - and failed - to win penalties for his side.News Now - Sport News