The awarding of the prize was cancelled by France Football in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and fans all over the world are waiting in desperation to see world-class players compete to claim the coveted trophy. The Ballon d’Or is back once again, and it is easily considered the biggest individual honour that the world of football has to offer.
Although there is still a long way to go before December, we can still analyze the top ten current favourites to win the 65th edition of the Ballon d’Or so far. The voting system is to be conducted as usual: votes from football journalists, team captains and coaches combine to decide the winner of France Football’s annual accolade.
This year, things might be a little more interesting than usual. According to recent speculation, regular features such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi will be making appearances. However, they are not the top favourites to win the prestigious award this year. Challengers all around the world have stunned audiences with impressive and consistent performances. Viewers could witness the duopoly of Ronaldo and Messi in the Ballon d’Or broken this year.
With the abundance of such fine players this year, the Ballon d’Or voting system will be cutting it very close. We have analyzed who could walk away with the honourable prize based on recent performances. Let’s have a look at our top contenders for the Ballon d’Or this year.
7. Cristiano Ronaldo – Juventus
Five-time winner of the Ballon d’Or — could Ronaldo be aiming for a sixth one? His stats certainly seem to say so. Ronaldo is on our list of favourites every year, and the Portuguese star seems determined on making more history every campaign. His list of accomplishments never seems to end, and he also features in Sportingbet’s list of the Greatest 11 Premier League players. The 5-time Ballon d’Or winner has to perform well with Portugal in the Euro 2020 to add another Ballon d’Or to his name.
6. Romelu Lukaku – Inter Milan
Lukaku was an integral part of Inter Milan’s success in winning their first Serie A trophy in 2010. He is also Serie A’s most valuable player of the year, and only Ronaldo has more goals than him in the Serie A season. Recently, the Belgium international has been putting on what can only be described as one of the greatest shows in the Euro 2020 as well, and his performances speak for themselves.
5. Lionel Messi – Barcelona
The Ballon d’Or regular is in our favourites to win yet another one as well. It seems strange to consider Messi not being a part of the Ballon d’Or contenders list as he is one of the greatest players to ever step foot on a football pitch. However, Barcelona’s season was not so impressive this year, and according to recent speculation, Messi might be leaving the club.
Nonetheless, the Argentinian has had an incredible individual performance so far. In 2021, his achievements include 30 goals, ten assists and winning the Copa del Rey trophy.
4. Robert Lewandowski – Bayern Munich
Many critics believe Lewandowski was robbed of the Ballon d’Or in 2020. This could be his year to finally ‘reclaim’ what was his, and he has definitely put in the effort to make a lasting impression on this campaign. The 32-year-old has scored 20+ in 20 games, and he was also Bundesliga’s top scorer with 41 goals and six assists.
Poland are struggling in the Euro 2020 at the moment, but if they can manage to somehow win the international competition, a Ballon d’Or could be a highly likely possibility for Lewandowski. Whether critics believe that he deserved back in 2020 or not, just looking at the sheer numbers Lewandowski is putting up really says it all.
3. Kevin de Bruyne – Manchester City
Manchester City is home to an abundance of world-class players, and Kevin de Bruyne is definitely one of them, considering he was their best player of the season. In 2021, his achievements include ten goals, nine assists and winning the Premier League and Carabao Cup.
If Belgium gets consistent with their performances and wins the Euro 2020, there is a big chance for de Bruyne to win the Ballon d’Or.
2. Kylian Mbappe – Paris Saint-Germain
Mbappe has been simply outstanding this campaign, and many believe he will be the one to win this prestigious award. Mbappe won the hearts of fans all over the world by winning the 2018 World Cup, and he was significantly impressive at such a young age. At 22 years old, he has recorded 28 goals and four assists in the 2020-21 Ligue Season.
However, winning the Euro 2020 for France will make a lasting impression, and he seems to be wowing the audience consistently with his incredible soft touch and his near deadly feet that continue to dominate in not only speed but in power.
1. N’Golo Kante – Chelsea
Kante is our number one man for the Ballon d’Or this year. Winning the Champions League was no small feat, and if France dominates Euro 2020, there is no reason why Kante should not receive the Ballon d’Or. According to former Manchester United striker Louis Saha, it would not be a “scandal” if Kante scooped the Ballon d’Or award.
“If he did [win the Ballon d’Or], I believe he would deserve it. There is no player, not even Cristiano Ronaldo or Messi, that has been the man of the match in both legs of the Champions League semi-final and final.”
“Dominating the midfield alone whilst at the same time helping players moving forward. Going forward, he was just a force. I haven’t seen anyone do anything like that.”
“I do remember some other winners of the Ballon d’Or, no disrespect to them, and I won’t name names, but earning this prize, this amazing prize without those types of performances.”