The 2021 Ballon d’Or shortlist is out and football fans all over the world are wondering who among the 30-man list would win the prestigious football award.
From all indications, the 2021 Ballon d’Or could be said to be the most competitive edition of the 65 years old award and it is extremely difficult to predict the final three, not to talk of the possible winner.
In the previous editions of the award, especially in the last 12 years, the award was either for Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi. The chain broke briefly in 2018 when Luka Modrić of Real Madrid won the Ballon d’Or ahead of Messi and Ronaldo.
Recall that the 2020 edition of the award was not held because of the coronavirus pandemic that forced some major leagues across the world including the French Ligue 1 to be canceled.
Hence, 34-year-old Argentine football icon, Lionel Messi remains the incumbent holder of the award. Messi won the last edition of the award in 2019.
The Paris Saint Germain recruit is the only player to ever win the award 6 times, one time more than his career rival, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Interestingly, the 2021 Ballon d’Or shortlist is filled with a series of potential winners and Futballnews has attempted to pick out five players that are most likely to win the award based on their achievements in the last 12 months.
Below are five footballers that are most likely to win the 2021 Ballon d’Or with reasons:
- Robert Lewandowski
Bayern Munich striker, Robert Lewandowski is seen as the most likely winner of the 2021 Ballon d’Or due to the consistency and how indispensable he has been for his club and country, Poland.
When French football, organizers of the award, announced that the 2020 edition of the award has been canceled, most football fans and pundits believed that Lewandowski was robbed of the award.
In the season under review (2020-2021 season), the Polish striker finished the season as the highest goalscorer in Europe which earned him the 2021 Golden Boot. He helped Bayern Munich to win the Bundesliga by being the league’s highest goalscorer.
However, he could not do much for Poland as his country failed to make it out of Group E of Euro 2020.
- Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi had a difficult 2020-2021 season at FC Barcelona but was able to finish the season as the league’s top scorer and highest assists provider.
Despite how difficult the season was, he was able to help the club to qualify for the Champions League and win the season’s, Copa del Rey.
After the club’s season, he led Argentina to win Copa America, which was his first major trophy for the Argentina senior team. Hence, the 34-year-old Argentine icon who now plays for Paris Saint Germain is one of the strongest contenders for the award.
The status of Jorginho in the 2020-2021 season has made the 2021 Ballon d’Or more competitive.
Though the Italian midfielder is not a goalscoring or assist providing player, his ability to intercept passes and control the pace of the game has made him a stand-out player for both Chelsea and Italy national teams.
Recall that he was instrumental in helping Chelsea to win the UEFA Champions League, and the UEFA Super Cup. He was also instrumental in helping his country to win the European Championship in July 2021.
For winning these three titles, he was voted the best UEFA player of the year ahead of Lewandowski which makes him a very strong contender for the 2021 Ballon d’Or.
- Cristiano Ronaldo
Of course, Cristiano Ronaldo is a regular feature of the Ballon d’Or but it might be difficult for him to win this year’s edition of the award.
However, the 36-year-old Portuguese football icon could break into the top three based on the number of times he single-handedly saved Juventus last season.
Juventus had a tough 2020-2021 season and they almost lost out on a Champions League spot but Ronaldo’s late-minute goals helped them to stay in the top four in Serie A.
Despite how difficult the season was, Ronaldo finished the season as Serie A highest goalscorer. He also helped Juventus to win the Coppa Italia amid the chaotic season.
The 36-year-old five-time Ballon d’Or winner who currently plays for Manchester United ended his journey in Euro 2020 as the highest goalscorer of the tournament.
- N’Golo Kante
N’Golo Kante has been a delight to many football fans across the world. Even before French football released the shortlist for the 2021 Ballon d’Or, some fans had already started campaigning for him to win it.
N’Golo Kante won three man-of-the-match awards in the 2020-2021 UEFA Champions League campaign. His master class in the midfield earned Chelsea the Champions League title. He was also instrumental in ensuring that Chelsea defeated Villarreal to win the UEFA Super Cup.
Due to his consistency, UEFA voted him the best midfielder in the Champions League which makes him a contender for the 2021 Ballon d’Or.
Below is the full list of players shortlisted for this year’s edition of the Ballon d’Or
Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG)
Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus)
Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)
Simon Kjær (AC Milan)
Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
Ruben Dias (Manchester City)
N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
Mason Mount (Chelsea)
Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan)
Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)
Phil Foden (Manchester City)
Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)
Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
Harry Kane (Tottenham)
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
Lionel Messi (PSG)
Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan)
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
Gerard Moreno (Villarreal)
Luis Suarez (Atletico Madrid)
When is the 2021 Ballon d’Or taking place?
Now that 30 players have been nominated for the 2021 Ballon d’Or based on their performance in the last 12 months, the next step is the commencement of the voting process.
The voting process will be carried out by some selected international journalists. Other people who will partake in the voting process include national team coaches and captains.
They are allowed to select their best five players from the 30-man list. Players who make the most appearances in their selections will be given the award.
The Ballon d’Or will be presented to the eventual winner on November 29, 2021, at a luxurious ceremony in Paris, France.