The 30-person shortlist for this year’s Ballon D’Or for men includes many of the familiar names as well as five UEFA Champions League winners. Lionel Messi and Jorginho are the leading contenders for the award, while N’Golo Kante and Robert Lewandowski also have strong chances.
– France Football #BallondOr (@francefootball) October 8, 2021
Cristiano Ronaldo did not have his prime at either Juventus or Portugal, while Kevin De Bruyne won the Premier League and PFA Player of the Year. The ceremony is due to take place in Paris on November 29th, along with the presentation of the Kopa Trophy and Yashin Trophy.
CAN MESSI BE STOPPED?
The now PSG striker had 47 goal contributions in all competitions last season but failed to inspire Barcelona to the La Liga crown. They managed to lift the Copa del Rey, but his biggest moment under the sun came at this year’s Copa America. Argentina made it to the final and surprisingly even won against defending champions Brazil. Messi’s first major international trophy should help him win a record seventh Ballon D’Or this time around.
Messi at Copa America 2021:
🔹 Player with the most goals
🔸 Player with the most assists
🔹Player of the tournament
🔸Winner of the tournament
First player EVER in a single international tournament to achieve this feat 🤩 pic.twitter.com/ljzSR5maAf
– Barça worldwide (@BarcaWorldwide) July 11, 2021
Messi’s closest competitor is, as many believe, not Lewandowski or Ronaldo. It’s Chelsea and Italian Jorginho who have received some pretty rave reviews about their gameplay this season. He won the two most important European competitions for club and country and was also voted UEFA Player of the Year. Although he doesn’t have the amazing scorer skills or the beautiful skills on the ball, Jorginho’s rich trophy loot makes him a top contender.
• Winner of the Champions league
• Supercup winners
• EURO winners
• Ballon d’Or candidate
What an incredible year for Jorginho! 🤩 pic.twitter.com/E8xXF2Cki4
-LDN (@LDNFootbalI) October 8, 2021
Could he really be the first Chelsea player to win the prestigious award? It will be an incredible feat and cement the Italian as one of the best ball players of all time.
The man who upset the most last year is back in conversation, but the environment is not the same. Lewandowski had a monstrous 2020, winning six times and being named Best FIFA Men’s Player. Many said it was finally time for the Pole to take his first win, but with the award ceremony being canceled, his chance seems to be over for good.
Robert Lewandowski’s trophy loot in 2020. Something is missing. pic.twitter.com/ukxylCJkvS
– AGAINST (@vsrsus) October 29, 2020
Nevertheless, Lewandowksi has had the best scoring season of his career this season and broken the single season record with 41 goals in the Bundesliga. Bayern Munich won the championship title, but was defeated in the DFB Cup and Champions League in the early knockout phase.
Lewandowski was his bossy self again at Euro 2020, which in the end was not enough for another disappointing exit.
As always, there were a couple of names that the fans really scratched their heads about. AC Milan defender Simon Kjaer joins Raheem Sterling, who had one of his more disappointing seasons. Riyad Mahrez had an excellent time in the final stages of the Champions League, but should that be enough to justify his choice?
Seeing a Villarreal player nominated for the Ballon D’or is remarkable, but Gerard Moreno absolutely deserves it! Before Gerhard! https://t.co/OTylYhflfL
– The UEL Champs fan blog: Endavant Villarreal🏆 (@VillarrealUSA) October 8, 2021
It is clear that some of the players were chosen for their leadership qualities (Cesar Azpilicueta / Giorgio Chiellini), while there was also emphasis on performance at Euro 2020 (Pedri / Gianluigi Donnarumma). Gerard Moreno scored 30 times in all competitions and in the UEFA Europa League final, which Villarreal won, making him a well-deserved candidate.
THE BEST OF THE REST
N’Golo Kante is another new name to add to the mix given his excellence in repelling attacks from opponents. He was voted Player of the Game in both the semi-finals against Real Madrid and the final. However, Kante did not have the best time with France, as the world champions were knocked out by outsiders Switzerland in the round of 16.
Present the Ballon d’Or. It belongs to N’Golo Kante.
Man of the game:
Round of 16 second leg: Edge
Semi-final first leg: Edge
Semi-final second leg: Edge
– OptusSport (@OptusSport) May 30, 2021
The Premier League has a strong presence with 13 players, including those already mentioned above. Harry Kane has become a permanent fixture on that list, winning both the Golden Shoe and Playmaker of the Season. Mason Mount was another star for Chelsea setting up the Champions League only goal and celebrating another solid season.
Harry Kane was awarded the Golden Shoe and the Playmaker after topping the individual tables with 23 goals and 14 assists 👏 pic.twitter.com/25DfbAPZPR
– Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) May 23, 2021
Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland did it too, but the chances of winning the Ballon D’Or need more time. Mohamed Salah started this season like a house on fire and Bruno Fernandes’ queer game also sees him in the top 30.
• Euro top scorer.
• Serie A top scorer.
• Serie A Striker of the Year.
• Copa Italia winners.
• SuperCopa Italiana winner.
17th Ballon d’Or nomination. pic.twitter.com/Q8Q2oB6y5y
– TCR. (@TeamCRonaldo) October 8, 2021
After all, Ronaldo was having a great time with his club and international career. The all-time record scorer in international men’s football was also Serie A’s top scorer, however, his performances were insufficient to maintain Juventus’ dominance in the league despite winning Coppa Italia. He kept his hot streak going and became the Euro 2020 Golden Shoe winner, but Portugal suffered a disappointing defense of their crown with a limp finish against Belgium in the round of 16.
BALLON D’OR POWER RANKING:
1. LIONEL MESSI
3. ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI
4. N’GOLO EDGE
5. HARRY KANE
6. CRISTIANO RONALDO
7. MO SALAH
8. KEVIN DE BRUYNE
9. LAUTARO MARTINEZ
10. KYLIAN MBAPPE
11. ERLING HAALAND
12. GERARD MORENO
13. ROMELU LUKAKU
14. BRUNO FERNANDES
15. LUIS SUAREZ
16. MASON MOUNT
17. PHIL FODEN
18. LUKA MODRIC
19. RAHEEM STERLING
21. NICOLO BARELLA
22. GIORGIO CHIELLINI
24. RUBEN DIAS
25. GIANLUIGI DONNARUMMA
26. KARIM BENZEMA
27. RIYAD MAHREZ
28. LEONARDO BONUCCI
29. CESAR AZPILICUETA
30. SIMON KJAER