Check out the 10 current favorites for the 2021 Ballon d’Or as football’s biggest stars compete for the prestigious award.
After the COVID-19 pandemic forced France Football to cancel the most prestigious individual award last year, football’s biggest stars enter 2021 more determined than ever to lay their hands on the Ballon d’Or.
A combination of votes from football journalists, coaches, and team captains decide the winner of France Football’s annual accolade. And while there is still a long way to go before December, the race is already getting exciting.
So here let’s check out the 10 current favorites to win the 65th edition of the Ballon d’Or as of June 2021.
10) Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
Bruno Fernandes continues to make the headlines at Manchester United. The 26-year-old has made 23 goal contributions (14 goals, 9 assists) for club and country. His creativity and scoring prowess is unrivaled for a midfielder, and he played a key role in the Red Devils’ second-place in the Premier League. Losing the Europa League final, though, was an unlucky blow.
9) Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
The 20-year-old, like Mbappe, is already one of the world’s best strikers. He’s a machine inside the box, having scored a stunning 24 goals in only 27 appearances in 2021 so far, and can still raise his game to a whole other level. He could make an outside bet for the Ballon d’Or.
8) Ruben Dias (Manchester City)
The Portuguese has been mighty impressive since completing a summer transfer from Benfica, and a factor behind Manchester City’s improved defense this season. He ended his first season with Premier League and EFL Cup titles, and is a contender for Player of the Year in England.
Defenders don’t normally win the Ballon d’Or. But if one was to win it this year, Ruben Dias would surely be a top challenger if not a favorite.
7) Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)
Cristiano Ronaldo has had a tough time in 2021 so far. Juventus suffered another Champions League last-16 exit at the hands of Porto, their Serie A title defense is in tatters, and the Bianconeri almost ended up in the Europa League. Unfortunately, CR7 has received the brunt of the criticism.
But the 36-year-old has still been in awesome form. He ended the season in style by winning the Coppa Italia, a first Capocannoniere prize, Juve’s MVP prize, and Serie A’s best striker award. If Ronaldo can win the European Championship with Portugal this summer, a sixth Ballon d’Or would be a real possibility.
6) Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan)
The former Manchester United striker has silenced his critics with Serie A’s MVP award. He was superb all season to help Inter Milan win a first Scudetto since 2010 and finish runner-up to Cristiano Ronaldo in the Capocannoniere battle.
If Lukaku can keep up the good performances in the European Championship, he could nail a podium finish in the Ballon d’Or.
5) Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)
2021 began on a high note for Lionel Messi. He rediscovered his best form to help resurrect Barcelona’s season, which involved Copa del Rey and 28 goals in only 29 games across all competitions.
But when it counted most, Messi alone wasn’t enough. Barcelona failed to win La Liga, crashed to a Champions League last-16 exit against PSG, and lost the Spanish Super Cup final.
4) Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
The Belgian ace is back on song at a key moment in the Ballon d’Or race. De Bruyne was instrumental again in helping Manchester City reclaim the Premier League title and win another EFL Cup. He has made several decisive match-winning contributions and will hope to keep it up with Belgium in this summer’s European Championship.
3) Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)
The 22-year-old truly looked a worthy successor to Ronaldo and Messi by scoring a Champions League hat-trick against Barcelona in February. Not many footballers have achieved this before. But Mbappe is no ordinary player, with a blistering pace and clinical touch that makes him a nightmare for defenders. He even the season with a third successive Golden Boot award in Ligue 1 and the French league’s best player prize.
2) Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
Lewandowski has continued his mind-blowing stats in 2021, having already scored a brilliant 26 goals in just 20 games this year. Had the Pole not been injured between March and April, Bayern Munich perhaps could’ve gone further than the quarter-finals in the Champions League.
Given that Poland are unlikely to win the European Championship this summer, it will be difficult for Lewandowski to win the Ballon d’Or. Even so, the 32-year-old’s brilliance is impossible ignore and he ended the season with a record 41 Bundesliga goals.
1) N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
N’Golo Kante isn’t a goalscorer nor the first player that people would rate as a Ballon d’Or winner. His man of the match performances in both the Champions League semi-finals and finals, however, make him a threat.
The Frenchman’s display in the final itself was incredible. He was full of energy as ever, contributed in the attack, made some key interceptions, and was pretty much everywhere all the time in Portugal.
Kante may not be thinking about a first Ballon d’Or, but European glory with France would surely make him a top contender.