France Football, the organisers of the Ballon d’Or, has released a list of 30 nominees for 2021’s edition of football’s most coveted individual award.
Decade-long regulars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi made it to the list again, with both players leading their respective domestic leagues in goals scored. Messi went on to win his first international trophy, securing the Copa trophy with Argentina in July. The two superstars also traded teams over the summer, with Ronaldo securing a dream return to Manchester United, and Messi joining longtime pal Neymar in Paris Saint Germain.
Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski was also included on the 2021 list and is expected to be a heavy favourite. The forward would rue missing out on the Balon d’Or last year after a treble-winning season with Bayern in the 2019/2020 season. The Polish striker was the outright favourite, breaking goal scoring records in the Bundesliga and starring in the UCL. Unfortunately, the awards for 2020 were cancelled.
However, Lewandowski will be looking to placate his bitterness with a win this year. The Bayern striker found the back of the net 41 times for his club, breaking the Bundesliga record for goals scored in a domestic league season. He also contributed seven assists and won the Bundesliga.
Full Ballon d’Or list
Cesar Azpilicueta, Nicolo Barella, Karim Benzema, Leonard Bonucci, Kevin De Bruyne, Giorgio Chiellini, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruben Dias, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Bruno Fernandes, Phil Foden, Erling Haaland, Harry Kane, Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Simon Kjaer, Robert Lewandowski, Romelu Lukaku, Riyad Mahrez, Lautaro Martinez, Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, Luka Modric, Gerard Moreno, Mason Mount, Neymar, Pedri, Mohamed Salah, Raheem Sterling, Luis Suarez.
Full Kopa Trophy list
Bukayo Saka, Jeremy Doku, Mason Greenwood, Pedri, Ryan Gravenberch, Florian Wirtz, Giovanni Reyna, Jamal Musiala, Jude Bellingham, Nuno Mendes.
Full Yachine Trophy list
Keylor Navas, Emiliano Martinez, Manuel Neuer, Jan Oblak, Samir Handanovic, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Ederson, Kasper Schmeichel, Edouard Mendy, Thibaut Courtois.