Ballon d’Or is the most peculiar and prestigious individual award for football players. It is presented annually by the French news magazine,” France Football”. It is hand out to the player believed to have performed the best during the year.
Ballon d’Or was interrupted in 2020 by the covid pandemic. However, it is back this year, will be awarded in December 2021. The defending winner of this award is Lionel Messi.
Over the last few years, we have often seen a two-horse race for this award between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. But this is not the case now, this year Lionel Messi is considered the clear favourite to win the Ballon d’Or with Ronaldo’s performances and trophies won on the decline since joining Juventus in 2018. It has opened the door for other players to have a run for this trophy.
Let’s have a look at potential candidates to challenge Messi for the Ballon d’Or and how their season compares to his.
- LIONEL MESSI (FC BARCELONA, ARGENTINA)
- Barcelona is going through a rebuild under a new manager. This season was underachieving for Barca as per their standards but it was expected with the quality of the squad. Lionel Messi had a huge responsibility to guide the young players coming through and also perform on the field. In a difficult season for Barca, Messi was a bright star, putting up performances and numbers that would be hard for other players to replicate in this Barca side.
- Lionel Messi had not won a major international tournament in his entire career before this year. This year’s Copa America was crucial for him to break his drought. He led Argentina to their 1st major international cup since 1993. He was the driving force in the team and won the player of the tournament award for his outstanding performances.
WINNER OF COPA AMERICA
- ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI (BAYERN MUNICH, POLAND)
Robert Lewandowski had a record-breaking season with Bayern Munich. He broke Bayern legend Gerd Müller record for most goals in a Bundesliga season. He was the favourite to win the 2020 Ballon d’Or that got cancelled due to the global pandemic.
Lewandowski led Poland to the Euro 2020 by putting up phenomenal performances in the qualifiers. He scored 3 goals in 3 matches in the Euros. Unfortunately, Poland could not progress through the group stages.
- JORGINHO (CHELSEA, ITALY)
Many fans believe that Jorginho has an outsiders chance of winning the Ballon d’Or after his exceptional performances in Euro 2020 and the UEFA Champions League. He was an integral part of the Italian side that won the Euros and an influential part of the Champions League-winning side of Chelsea. He also won a silver medal in the Fa Cup and finished 3rd in the Premier League.
- KYLIAN MBAPPE (PSG, FRANCE)
Kylian Mbappe is considered by many people as the player to dominate the Ballon d’Or race for the upcoming years. This year has been a mixed bag for the world cup winner with both club and country.
France got knocked out in the round of 16 of the Euro 2020. It was a disappointing campaign for France and especially Mbappe, who faced a lot of criticism for his performances in the tournament. He also missed the last penalty that eliminated France from the competition. He ended the tournament with zero goals and assist.
Can anyone of these candidate stop Messi from winning his record 7th Ballon d’Or ?