The Ballon d’Or is football’s most prestigious individual prize. From Lionel Messi to Jorginho, from Cristiano Ronaldo to Harry Kane, here are all the possible contenders to win this year’s Ballon d’Or.
Lionel Messi is the odds-on favourite to win his seventh Ballon d’Or trophy this year. However, by his standards, he had a disappointing season with Barcelona where they failed to win La Liga, finishing third in the table.
They also crashed out of the Champions League at the round of 16 before his transfer to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer. He did, however, lead his Argentina side to a first-ever Copa America trophy that also served as his first major tournament win with his national team.
Robert Lewandowski is a possible second contender to win. If the Ballon d’Or had taken place in 2020, we think he he surely would have won, as he led his Bayern side to a treble. But this year the Poland international has continued to go from strength to strength, scoring a massive 41 goals in 29 league matches in 2020-21! This set a domestic record!
Chelsea midfielder Jorginho is third in contention to be named the winner, after his successes on both club and international level, being the heartbeat of the squad that earned Chelsea second Champions League title, and also being involved in the superb Italy team that won Euro 2020.
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel also said the midfielder ‘deserves’ the award, while he has also found support from two more former legendary Azurri coaches in Marcello Lippi and Arrigo Sacchi.
Though he had an impressive season with Juventus – scoring 29 Serie A goals – as well as hitting the ground running in his second spell at Manchester United, Ronaldo isn’t considered a favourite to win the prize this year.
Juventus failed to win the Serie A last season, and Portugal crashed out of Euro 2020 disappointingly during the round of 16, losing to Belgium 0-1. Portugal were considered favourites as defending European Champions, but by coming up short they hurt Ronaldo’s chances.
Jorginho’s Chelsea teammate N’Golo Kante is also in contention to win the award.
A defensive midfielder has never before won the Ballon d’Or, and should Kante win, it would be thoroughly deserved. The French international has been a central part of the Chelsea side for years now, his success not coming through goals, but with dominating the pitch and serving as the backbone of the squad. He helped them win the Champions League after all.
Kevin De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne was the PFA Players’ Player of the Year for the second year running, so it’s clear that his peers see him in an elite light.
He pulled the strings for Manchester City as they wrestled the Premier League title back from Liverpool, and a goal and three assists in his last three games in all competitions suggest De Bruyne is easing his way into the season nicely.
With Italy’s win and a move to PSG, Gianluigi Donnarumma has made a name for himself as one of the world’s best keepers. The 22-year-old was named the Euro 2020 Player of the Tournament. His large slender frame and reach, agility, and composed nature are seen as his biggest strengths.
The 22-year-old made 54 appearances across all competitions for Chelsea last season, helping the Blues win the Champions League and reach the FA Cup final.
He then made five appearances for England at Euro 2020, including almost 100 minutes of the final game against Italy, playing a key role in England’s path to the second place. Despite being a long-shot candidate, we see him as one of the best footballers to come out of England in a long time, and in the future he just might have many Ballon d’Ors to his name!