The race for the 2021 Ballon d’Or has begun after the 30-man shortlist was released not too long ago.
The countdown will end on the November 29, when the award ceremony takes place in Paris, France.
After the dominance of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for so many years, aside from the 2018 hiccup when Luka Modric won the award, this year sees several candidates worthy of taking home the trophy.
Which players stand the best chance of being crowned the best footballer in the world?
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema stands out as one of this year’s favourites, as the Frenchman put his team on his back and continued his fine form since Cristiano Ronaldo left the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
The 33-year-old is currently in everyone’s minds following his wondergoal for France against Spain in the Nations League final on Sunday, October 10, when he equalised before Kylian Mbappe won France the match.
Benzema could be the first Frenchman to win the trophy since Zinedine Zidane did so back in 1998.
The man who has won the trophy more than anyone else, with a total of six to his name, Lionel Messi is also the current holder of the trophy.
Despite Barcelona not being in the richest patch of their history right now, the club that Messi left in the summer, the Argentine still added the Copa del Rey and the Pichichi Trophy to his collection in 2021. He then won the Copa America with Argentina over the summer.
There is no denying this man’s qualities, even at 34 years of age, so he is always in the running.
Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski is looked at by many as the worthy winner of the 2020 Ballon d’Or.
Sadly, the award was scrapped that year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and therefore nobody won, but the Poland international will no doubt want to get his hands on the trophy once and for all.
With 48 goals in 40 games last season, including 41 in 29 league games, Lewandowski is one of the most in-form strikers in the world right now and stands out as one of the favourites.
Chelsea and Italy’s Jorginho is the only midfielder up for the award, a rare occurrence in this day and age, but this man’s 2021 has been more successful than anybody else’s.
Jorginho won Euro 2020 with Italy a couple of months after winning the Champions League with Chelsea, all before adding the UEFA Super Cup to his resume, and he now sits atop the Premier League with the Blues.
Having already won the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award this year, Jorginho is the man to watch out for this year, with many pipping him as the favourite.
This man can never be counted out of the running.
At 36 years of age, Cristiano Ronaldo is showing no sign of slowing down, having recently moved back to Manchester United, where he has already scored five goals in his first six games.
With five Ballon d’Or awards under his belt already, the first of which came in 2008, 13 years ago, Cristiano Ronaldo can never be counted out.