14 days to go! The winners of the 2021 Ballon d’Or awards are set to be announced in November, with Lionel Messi bidding to win the men’s prize for a record-extending seventh time. Robert Lewandowski is his main rival, while Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas and Chelsea’s Sam Kerr look to be the favourites for the women’s Ballon d’Or.
The 2021 men’s Ballon d’Or winner will be announced later this month with Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski and Jorginho the front-runners to win the award.
The ceremony was not held last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and it looks a close race to decide this year’s winner. The women’s Ballon d’Or will also be held for the third time, with Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas and Chelsea’s Sam Kerr among the favourites.
Here’s all you need to know about the ceremony, the favourites, and how to follow…
WHEN IS THE 2021 BALLON D’OR CEREMONY?
The ceremony will take place in Paris on November 29, 2021.
HOW CAN I WATCH THE CEREMONY?
You will be able to watch the ceremony on L’Equipe‘s YouTube channel.
HOW DOES THE VOTING WORK?
The initial 30-player shortlist is assembled by an editorial team at France Football magazine. A jury of journalists representing a variety of nations then votes for the players they believe should come in first, second and third.
WHO HAS BEEN NOMINATED FOR THE MEN’S AWARD?
Lionel Messi is the current holder of the trophy after being crowned the winner in 2019, and after a magnificent year where he played 48 games, scored 40 goals and led Argentina to their first Copa America title since 1993, his former team-mate Luis Suarez believes that the Paris-Saint Germain star is a no-brainer for the award.
“For the Ballon d’Or, you should not only have to look at what someone has done in a year, but you also have to look at how someone is as a player,” Suarez told Ole. “I believe that Messi has no rival.”
Messi won the player of the tournament as Argentina lifted the Copa America and he also led Barca to Copa del Rey success before leaving in the summer. Even though he has made a slow start at PSG, Barcelona defender Gerard Pique believes Messi has the all-around factors that makes him deserving of the award.
“I think Leo will win Ballon d’Or for sure,” he told Spanish broadcaster Ibai Llanos. “If it’s valuing trophies plus performance plus figures…The winner is also Leo. Leo should have won more than seven times.”
But Messi faces a strong rival in Robert Lewandowski.
Lewandowski scored 41 goals in 29 Bundesliga games last season to break Gerd Muller’s 49-year record. He also finished as the top scorer in Europe and broke a club record for scoring in 19 consecutive matches for Bayern Munich.
“I can’t think of anyone else deserving the award like he does after he over the past years continuously delivered goals,” said Bayern head coach Julian Nagelsmann.
Lewandowski’s goals helped Bayern win five trophies, while he has also netted nine goals in 11 appearances for Poland this year.
“Collectively and individually I don’t think I could have done more,” he said.
If the award comes down to weight of trophies then Chelsea midfielder Jorginho also has a case.
The Italian was named the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year for the 2020/2021 season after winning the Champions League and Euro 2020 within a few months of each other. While he doesn’t have the same goal stats as Messi and Lewandowski, Jorginho is hopeful that others factors will be taken into account in the voting.
“It’s not up to me to say if I should win the Ballon d’Or, but it would be an incentive for other players, to show that not only goals are taken into account.”
Jorginho says that if he had a vote then it would go to Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne.
“I believe I’d vote for Kevin De Bruyne for everything he’s been doing and for the beautiful football he’s been showing in recent years. For those who like football, it’s great to see him play because he understands football, he is a player with above-average intelligence.”
De Bruyne is behind the likes of Karim Benzema, Mohamed Salah and Gianluigi Donnarumma in the betting.
Full list of men’s nominees: Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Ruben Dias (Manchester City), Gianluigi Donnarumma (Paris Saint-Germain), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund), Jorginho (Chelsea), Harry Kane (Tottenham), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Simon Kjaer (AC Milan), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea), Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Gerard Moreno (Villarreal), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain), Pedri (Barcelona), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Luis Suarez (Atletico Madrid)
WHO IS THE NOMINATED FOR THE WOMEN’S AWARD?
Alexia Putellas is favourite to add the Ballon d’Or to her UEFA Women’s Player of the Year Award.
The Barcelona midfielder was key to her side’s treble-winning season, scoring in the Champions League final and netting twice in the Copa de la Reina final.
Sam Kerr looks to be her main rival after a brilliant season for Chelsea that saw her win the Golden Boot in the Women’s Super League and fire her side to a league and cup double. She also impressed for Australia at the Olympics, scoring six goals in six games, and is one of five Chelsea players on the shortlist along with Denmark’s Pernille Harder, Sweden’s Magdalena Eriksson, Canada’s Jessie Fleming and England’s Fran Kirby.
Barcelona’s Jenni Hermoso is also in the running after continuing her superb goalscoring form, finishing as the top scorer in the league for the fifth time in six seasons. She also helped Barca win the Champions League with six goals in the tournament but missed the first two months of this season due to an ankle injury.
Full list of women’s nominees: Kadidiatou Diani (PSG), Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Jennifer Hermoso (Barcelona), Christiane Endler (Lyon), Christine Sinclair (Thorns FC), Ashley Lawrence (PSG), Irene Paredes (PSG, Barcelona), Jessie Fleming (Chelsea), Lieke Martens (Barcelona), Sandra Panos (Barcelona), Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal), Ellen White (Manchester City), Pernille Harder (Chelsea), Sam Mewis (North Carolina Courage), Wendie Renard (Lyon), Marie-Antoinette Katoto (PSG), Stina Blackstenius (Hacken), Magdalena Eriksson (Chelsea), Sam Kerr (Chelsea), Alexia Putellas (Barcelona)
WHO ARE THE BOOKMAKERS’ FAVOURITE TO WIN?
Lionel Messi 1/2
Robert Lewandowski 3/1
Mohamed Salah 25/1
Karim Benzema 33/1
Gianluigi Donnarumma 66/1
Who do you think will win Ballon d’Or these two years? Leave your comment below and share your favourite!