It was always going to take something special to break the stranglehold of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi on the Ballon d'Or.
The pair have shared the last 10 prizes equally and have only failed to occupy the top two spots together once during that period of dominance.
Fortunately for Liverpool as they prepare to take on Real Madrid - and Ronaldo - in the Champions League final, they have someone a bit special at their disposal.
Mohamed Salah has been a revelation on Merseyside, scoring 44 goals in all competitions this season and forming part of Liverpool's fearsome attacking line-up alongside Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.
The trio have combined for 29 goals during the club's run to Saturday's final in Kiev and, in a climate where the world's best players are changing hands for nine-figure sums, the £36.9million paid by Liverpool to sign the Egypt international looks like an improbable bargain in hindsight.
Salah's sublime form - which has softened the blow of losing Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona in January - has come as something as a surprise given his previous failure to make a mark in the Premier League during a brief stint at Chelsea and his solid if unspectacular spell in Serie A.
The 25-year-old's scene-stealing performances have propelled him into the conversation when it comes to breaching the impenetrable top two with regard to individual honours.
Such is the obsession with the Ballon d'Or in the era of Ronaldo and Messi, that simply savouring the birth of another global star is not possible without comparing him to the current standard-bearers.
Neymar, for example, is reported to have considered his own bid for the prize when completing his €222m move to Paris Saint-Germain, hoping to step out of the shadow of Messi at Barcelona and further his own personal cause.
Salah's rise to prominence has come less by design, but something clicked for him at Anfield and he is now a player well aware of his elevated position in world football.
Talking to reporters on Monday, team-mate Dejan Lovren claimed to have spoken to Salah about the Ballon d'Or and said Liverpool would "help him to achieve this dream".
Lovren also described Salah as "definitely" the best player in the world at this moment time - the kind of plaudit that will only add to his growing status as Africa's biggest footballing star and fuel the inevitable rumours that will link Liverpool's main man with the likes of Madrid, Barcelona and Europe's other mega-rich super powers.
How Salah copes with those added pressures will be key to whether he can maintain the lofty standards he has set this season, but the fact is this: anybody hoping to unseat Ronaldo or Messi for Ballon d'Or honours is going to have to excel domestically, continentally and on the international stage.
With a superb Premier League campaign already in the bag, a Champions League final fast approaching and a World Cup on the horizon, Salah has laid firm foundations for a credible challenge to football's untouchables.
|Germany survive in Sochi but questions remain|
|Germany 2 Sweden 1: Late Kroos winner brings Low´s men back from the brink|
|Perisic dreaming of matching Croatia´s France 98 heroes|
|Veron questions Sampaoli for leaving Icardi out|
|Southgate won´t blame injured Alli for playing through pain barrier|
|Travelers Championship: Course invader drives Rory McIlroy and crowd nuts|
|Saul tells Atletico to renew Oblak deal after Griezmann´s new contract|
|Course invader sends McIlroy & crowd nuts at Travelers Championship|
|Saudi Arabia v Egypt: El Hadary eyes history in dead rubber|
|Referee declines Cheika invite after Australia´s series loss to Ireland|
|Griezmann, Mbappe can eclipse Henry, claims Trezeguet|
|Nawalka hopeful of Glik return against Colombia|
|Mexico outsmart South Korea to join Croatia as unheralded World Cup threats|
|´No drama´ for Southgate after England team sheet leak|
|Hend caught by five in Pulheim as Bjerregaard goes low|
|´Little Pea´ Hernandez hits big Mexico milestone in World Cup win|
|Modric and Rakitic the best midfield in Russia - Corluka|
|Cipriani and Farrell ease pressure on Jones as England avoid SA whitewash|
|South Korea 1 Mexico 2: Hernandez nets landmark goal as last 16 beckons|
|Ozil and Khedira axed by Germany|
|Djokovic plans to use two rackets against Cilic after reaching Queen´s final|
|World Cup of penalties? Russia surpasses Brazil after VAR introduction|
|Neymar ´fully recovered´ but Brazil coach Tite has thigh injury|
|Hansen claims France ´clutching at straws´ after another referee controversy|
|Douglas Costa, Danilo out of Brazil´s Serbia clash|
|Hamilton claims 75th pole as Mercedes dominate in France|
|´Mentally strong´ Salah will overcome World Cup disappointment, says Mane|
|Pekerman contemplating unleashing James and Quintero together|
|Schmidt hopes Australia furnace will produce Ireland diamonds|
|I´m missing practice, but it´s OK - Federer ready for Coric|
|Spain v Morocco: Alba makes case for the defence|
|Team-man Lukaku firmly in the race for individual prize|
|Belgium 5 Tunisia 2: Lukaku and Hazard shine as Red Devils run riot|
|Leaked England team gives Panama no advantage, insists Gomez|
|Mane and Senegal holding no fear for Japan|
|Murray to meet Wawrinka at Eastbourne|
|Nigeria goalkeeper Ikeme in remission after year-long cancer battle|
|Lukaku breaks Belgium record against Tunisia|
|Iran v Portugal: Team Melli bullish over qualification chances|
|Mauresmo to be France´s first female Davis Cup captain|
|Maradona angry at Argentina World Cup performances|
|Ireland cap stunning season with series win over Wallabies|
|Uruguay v Russia: Selection posers for already-qualified pair|
|Federer scraps his way to yet another Halle final|
|Lunin rejected ´3,000 offers´ to join Real Madrid|
|On your bike! Iceland physio sent home after cycling accident|
|Not just Real Madrid interested in Fekir, says Aulas|
|France frustrated by officials again as All Blacks complete sweep in style|
|Jose Enrique reveals brain tumour surgery|
|The referee was a disaster, fumes Matic|
|Lakmal to captain Sri Lanka in Chandimal´s absence|
|Alli back in England training|
|McIlroy, Watson plotting moves as Harman leads Travelers Championship|
|Tearful Neymar is a joyful boy, says Jesus|
|Ruiz: Coutinho has the same quality as Neymar|
|Kovacic announces intention to leave Real Madrid|
|Red Sox edge Mariners in 34-hit extravaganza|
|Marquez asks Mexico fans to ´let them rest´|
|Fabregas hopeful of Spain recall|
|Milinkovic-Savic plays down Juventus speculation|
|Rashford inspired by Ronaldo|
|Messi is not a leader, he is no Ronaldo, claims Petit|
|Better than Ballack? Hodgson backs Loftus-Cheek to shine against Panama|
|Svitolina and Garcia suffer upsets|
|Walker responds to Ferdinand criticism|
|Djokovic still hungry for more after reaching major milestone|
|Ellis drop goal earns Castleford dramatic win|
|Nigeria hero Musa unsure on Leicester City future|
|X marks the spot - Granit´s rocket sets World Cup first|
|Xhaka and Shaqiri follow the script as Serbia are derailed|