Ballon d’Or 2021: Top 3 candidates to win the men’s best player award

Lionel Messi of Barcelona receiving Ballon d Or 2019 trophy from Luka Modric of Real Madrid
Lionel Messi of Barcelona receiving Ballon d Or 2019 trophy from Luka Modric of Real Madrid

With the Ballon d’Or 2021 around the corner, here we take a look at the top three favourites to win the prestigious award.

JorginhoJorginho enjoyed a prolific 2020/21 season at both club and country level, which has led him to be considered as a favourite for this year’s Ballon d’Or. The Italian midfielder was an integral part of the Chelsea side that lifted the Champions League title last season. His stock skyrocketed when he led his national team to Euro 2020 glory. Although he wasn’t impactful in his first two seasons at Stamford Bridge, Jorginho ingrained himself as one of the best midfielders in Europe under Thomas Tuchel. He also translated his rich vein of form to the European Championship, eventually becoming one of the best players of the tournament. The odds could be in his favour if he manages to win the Nations League, with Italy facing Spain in the semi-finals.

  1. Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski was the outright favourite to win the Ballon d’Or last year, but the event got cancelled, much to his dismay. Yet, he has a great chance of winning it this time around due to his stellar season at Bayern Munich last term. The Polish striker racked up more than 50 across all competitions for the Bavarians last season and also helped his side win the Bundesliga title. In addition, he won the German footballer of the year award and the European Golden Shoe. Although his Polish side fell short in the Euros, Lewandowski, who scored three goals in the group stage, tried his best to keep his side alive in the tournament. The 33-year-old is also off to a flying start this season, scoring 11 goals in 9 games in all competitions. Lewandowski is clearly head and shoulders above his contemporary strikers, and he deserves to win the Ballon d’Or.

1. Lionel Messi

Nobody knows the Ballon d’Or better than the Argentine talisman Lionel Messi. The 34-year-old was the talk of the town in the summer due to his shock departure from Barcelona to Paris-Saint Germain. Those things have overshadowed what he achieved last season. Messi ended the La Liga season with 30 goals and 9 goals, which saw him win the Pichichi award ( league’s top scorer) for the umpteenth time. He also led the struggling Catalan side to the Copa del Rey trophy last year. However, what followed in the summer was his biggest achievement yet. Messi managed to break his trophy drought with the national team after winning the Copa America. He was the tournament’s top goal scorer and assists provider, which eventually saw him bag the best player of the Copa America 2021 award. The title meant more to him as he had been facing criticism over his failure with the national team. Since then, Messi has become a top favourite to win the Ballon d’Or for a record seventh time. Another Ballon d’Or would certainly enhance his unmatchable legacy.