The countdown to the most prestigious individual trophy in football has begun. Now that both Euro and Copa América have found the winners of their respective competitions, all eyes are on the 5 players in contention to win the Ballon d’Or. Both competitions saw some magnificent individual performances, not just at the international level, but those set of players performed at the club level too. In this article, we look at the 5 players in contention to win the Ballon d’Or.
Jorginho is a player on this list that might shock some, but he did all he could this season. The 29-year-old has had an incredible season with both club and country as he played a key role in Chelsea lifting the UCL and Italy winning the Euros. The defensive midfielder goes under the radar as he isn’t the type of player who scores and assists very often.
His magnificent performances have reflected on his past few weeks as he lifted two of the most important trophies of his career. ‘We all have dreams, but, I’ll be honest, it depends on the criteria that the decision is based on.’ said the Italian when asked about his chances of winning the Ballon d’Or.
#4 Karim Benzema
Real Madrid forward had an incredible individual season as he was directly involved in 31 goals in less than 35 games. This stat alone shows how Karim carried Real Madrid’s attacking front, as he finished the season as their top goal scorer for the third consecutive season. Benzema was also the second joint top scorer in La Liga, with 23 goals.
Benzema was called up for France after almost 5 years due to his controversy. France got a massive boost in their already star-studded attacking lineup. The addition of Karim proved to be crucial as he scored 4 goals in 4 matches, ending the tournament as his nation’s top goal scorer.
#3 Kylian Mbappe
The teenage sensation had a magnificent season with his club, PSG. The 22-year-old, found the net 27 times in just 31 games for the club in the league. He also scored 8 goals for them in just 10 UCL games, just one of the many stats which show how capable the forward is.
A brace versus Bayern Munich and an infamous hat-trick against Barça in camp nou, were some of his best performances throughout the season. Even though Kylian did not have the best tournament in Euro 2020, the forward still had one of the best seasons with club. Dominating both domestically and in Europe, Mbappe’s efforts with his club shouldn’t go unnoticed.
#2 Robert Lewandowski
Widely regarded as one of the best strikers in the world, Lewandowski was the red-hot favourite to win the Ballon d’Or 2020 and would have won it had the award not been cancelled. Last season, he netted 55 goals across all competitions. He also won the treble with his club, Bayern Munich, as they won the UCL, league and the DFB Pokal. The Polan international enjoyed another majestic individual season last season. Bayern Munich only won the league, but he was in red-hot form
In the 28 Bundesliga starts, he scored 41 goals. Breaking Gerd-Muller’s long-standing record of most goals scored in a Bundesliga season. The 32-year-old’s absence was felt in the UCL, as his presence would’ve surely made a difference against PSG. The Golden Shoe winner should now be secure in earning himself a place on the Ballon d’Or podium after a host of other challengers failed to make up the distance at the summer tournaments.
#1 Lionel Messi
It was a moment for millions of fans who had waited for as Messi finally won his first International trophy as he lifted the Copa América. The Player of the tournament and the Golden Boot winner at the Copa América, Messi’s supreme form in 2021 carried into this international tournament and now Ballon d’Or seven could be certainly on its way for Lionel.
Even though Barça finished a disappointing 3rd in La Liga and were knocked out by PSG in the Champions League, Messi was excellent individually throughout the season. In the 33 games he started in La Liga, he scored 30 goals and provided 9 assists in the process.