Messi and Ronaldo have both been nominated for 2021 Ballon d'Or award. Photograph:( AFP )
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have shared a staggering eleven Ballon d'Or awards between them and have dominated the proceedings over the years. Here we take a look at four players who can topple Messi and Ronaldo to come out on top this year.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are all set to battle it out once again after being nominated for the prestigious Ballon d'Or honour this year. The coveted individual prize is awarded by France Football to the best player of the year in terms of performances and trophies won. The award was not handed out last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is back this year and the winner will be announced on November 29.
The Ballon d'Or is considered one of the most prestigious individual honours in world football and remains a dream for professional footballers around the globe. Messi and Ronaldo have dominated the awards over the years, claiming as many as eleven honours between them so far. While six-time winner Messi holds the record for winning most Ballon d'Ors, Ronaldo has won it a staggering five times.
However, the two football icons might not be the favourites when it comes to clinching the Ballon d'Or this year. Both Messi and Ronaldo failed to inspire their respective clubs to league titles last season as Inter Milan pipped Juventus to win the Serie A while Atletico Madrid left Barcelona behind to win the La Liga title.
Nonetheless, Messi inspired Argentina to a magnificent Copa America triumph to also bring an end to his international trophy drought. He remains one of the top contenders for the Ballon d'Or 2021 but is all set to face intense competition from some other stars, who enjoyed a stellar season with their club and country.
Here we take a look at 4 players who can pip Messi and Ronaldo to win Ballon d'Or 2021:
1) Jorginho (Chelsea)
One of the favourites, if not the favourite for a shock win at Ballon d'Or 2021. Chelsea midfielder Jorginho enjoyed a stunning season with the Blues. He was instrumental in helping Chelsea win the Champions League title and the UEFA Super Cup before inspiring Italy to a magnificent triumph at the Euro 2020. The Italian midfielder was at the heart of Chelsea's tremendous success last season and has emerged as one of the top contenders for Ballon d'Or 2021.
2) Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
Kevin De Bruyne has been one of the most consistent performers for Manchester City under Pep Guardiola. The Belgian midfielder scored 12 goals and produced 13 assists for City across competitions, helping them win the Premier League and the Carabao Cup last season. He has been one of the best players in the Premier League for a few years now and might bag a podium finish at the Ballon d'Or 2021 awards.
3) Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
Many believe Robert Lewandowski was robbed of a chance to win his maiden Ballon d'Or last season when the award was scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Lewandowski was at it once again, scoring a stunning 50 goals for Bayern across all competitions. He fires Bayern to the Bundesliga and the Club World Cup title while also producing eight assists. The Polish striker also won the Golden Boot for being the highest scorer in Europe last season.
4) N'Golo Kante (Chelsea)
Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante has been one of the best players in the Premier League since arriving from Leicester City in 2016. Kante was a force to reckon with in the Chelsea midfield as he helped the club clinch the Champions League last season. Despite having fitness issues, he was one of the best performers for his club and class bag the Man of the Match award in the Champions League final against Manchester City.