As we gradually approach the Ballon d’Or award presentation, there have been series of speculations on who deserves the award the most. Popular opinion has changed from time to time especially with the outstanding performances we saw at the Euros and Copa America tournaments. There are a lot of players that can garner votes after displaying quality performance in the year in review.
Here’s a list of 10 players who are strong favourites to win the most prestigious individual football award
it would be nice to see Robert Lewandowski’s successes from last year acknowledged as he had a very outstanding year and could have probably been a strong contender for the 2020 Ballon d’Or. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the award ceremony was cancelled. Lewandowski has dominated in the Bundesliga and performed at a level higher than nearly anyone else on the planet topping the goal-scoring chat year in year out. He deserves a place on this list
There is no doubt that Kante was very instrumental in Chelsea’s triumph at the Champions League last season. Winning the man of the match award in both legs of the semi-final and the final game just establishes Kante as one of the best midfielders in the world. He is also another player worthy of the trophy but without the Euro 2020 trophy to add to his cabinet, Kante’s wait for the ultimate honour might just continue.
Harry Kane’s had his most impressive season individually last season. He scored 33 goals and had 17 assists in 49 games and netted another 4 goals for England in the EUROs tournament. You certainly cannot ignore those numbers, but you cannot also ignore the fact that England failed to win the EUROs after reaching the final and Tottenham finished in 7th place on the EPL table. This will also be considered when selecting a final winner. Kane might make the top 5 but his chances are slim to emerge as the winner.
The Euro’s Golden Boot winner has the stats and individual accolades required to win the Ballon d’Or, as he remained solid in front of goal all season for both club and country. Their failure to win the Euros might just be a reason for him to not increase his Ballon d’Or awards to 6.
The 22-year-old will be a favourite among many voters after putting up a remarkable performance for his side at the Euro’s and becoming the player of the tournament. His move to PSG gives him a better platform to compete for silverware in the coming season. If he maintains his good form for PSG, you never know, he might pull a surprise.
There is no doubt that Mbappe is one of the best players on the planet, but his chances are slim. His club was knocked out of the champions league, and he did not quite rise to the occasion at the Euro. He has not finished outside the top seven contenders, since bursting onto the season back in 2016/17 but it still seems like his time is yet to come.
Haaland scores enough goals as a striker to make him a part of the top 10 contenders for the Ballon d’Or. The problem for him here is like other contenders who have failed to win silverware with their club or country. Haaland is certainly a very stronger contender to make the top 10, but for him to win it this time, that might not happen.
England’s hero at the Euro and a regular player for the Premier League champions certainly deserves to be on this list. Although he was not at his best in the EPL last season, he did well to carry his team straight to the final at the Euro. If he continues with this form when the new season begins, he will be a strong contender to make the top 5 and who knows what might happen from there.
Before Copa America, you could put forth other players ahead of Messi to win the Ballon d’Or. His performance at the just concluded Copa America has made the Argentine an extraordinarily strong contender this year. He ended the 2020/21 season with 38 goals and 14 assists and finally ended his international trophy drought with Argentina at the Copa America. Messi will surely be looking to secure his 7th ballon D’or award.
Neymar’s exciting display for Brazil at the Copa America has dragged name back into this conversation. Before the tournament, He has received criticism on his performance for PSG last season. However, he will need a much better start to this season with PSG than he had last year when injuries stopped him from reaching his best.
There simply may be too much ground to make up, and a first top-five finish since 2017 might be a more realistic target now for him.
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