Ballon d’Or 2021 Power Rankings: Can Benzema or Mbappe push themselves onto the podium after their master class against Spain in the European Nations League?
The awarding of the Ballon d’Or prize was cancelled in 2020 and the world’s best players are again making their cases to claim the coveted individual honour.
After being cancelled in 2020, the Ballon d’Or is back, with the great and good of the football world again eyeing the biggest individual honour the game has to offer.
With the shortlist of the 021 prize now being announced, BraggsSports ranks the the top 10 runners and riders per individual as well as trophies won so far in 2021.
10. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
In 2021: 12 goals, 14 assists. Won Premier League & Carabao Cup.
A goal and three assists in his last three games for club and country suggest De Bruyne is easing his way into the season nicely, though the Belgium star remains short of his absolute best as he aims to shake off the injury problems that have plagued him in the second half of 2021.
9. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
In 2021: 35 goals, four assists. Won Coppa Italia & Supercoppa Italiana.
Goals against Qatar in friendly matches are not what Ballons d’Or are made of, but they certainly help when you are looking to set an unassailable marker as the greatest men’s international goalscorer of all time.
8. Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
In 2021: 41 goals, 13 assists. Won DFB-Pokal.
Injuries have stalled Haaland’s progress after his hot start to the season, and Dortmund will hope that the Norwegian is not missing for too much longer as they aim to launch a title challenge in the Bundesliga.
7. Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea)
In 2021: 30 goals, eight assists. Won Serie A.
Any lingering hopes Lukaku had of winning the Ballon d’Or have now gone after his superb start to life back at Chelsea slowed in recent weeks and Belgium lost out in the semi-finals of the Nations League.
That said, the striker has still enjoyed the best year of his career to date.
6. Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
In 2021: 35 goals, 14 assists. Won UEFA Nations League, Coupe de France & Trophee des Champions.
Mbappe reminded the world of the levels he can reach with his Nations League heroics, as the France star both scored and assisted in each of Les Bleus’ two wins on their way to lifting the trophy in Italy.
Lifting that silverware, however, is unlikely to elevate him into true Ballon d’Or contention this year, but will set him up nicely to make a sustained run in 2022.
5. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
In 2021: 34 goals, 13 assists. Won UEFA Nations League.
Along with Salah, there is arguably not a more in-form player in world football right now than Benzema, whose supreme curled finish in the Nations League final highlighted the confidence he is now playing with.
A vocal minority continue to push his Ballon d’Or case, but despite ensuring he ends the year with a team trophy, individual honours look set to remain just out of reach.
4. N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
In 2021: One goal, one assist. Won Champions League & UEFA Super Cup.
Kante’s injury problems are becoming something of a concern, with the France midfielder having been hampered by fitness issues ever since the Europa League final of 2019.
When he is on the pitch, though, he remains an outstanding performer.
3. Jorginho (Chelsea)
In 2021: Five goals, two assists. Won Euro 2020, Champions League & UEFA Super Cup.
Jorginho may not have added the Nations League title to the Euro 2020 and Champions League winners’ medals he already owns from this year, but he still looks well set for a podium finish in this year’s Ballon d’Or race.
It might not be a popular decision if he places in the top three, but voters put more stock in trophies than maybe they should.
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
In 2021: 50 goals, eight assists. Won Bundesliga, Club World Cup & DFL-Supercup.
Reports last week claimed that the 2020 Ballon d’Or will, in fact, be awarded to Lewandowski at this year’s ceremony after it was originally cancelled due to the pandemic.
If that proves to be the case, then it will be just reward for the Bayern star after the best two years of his career.
Lionel Messi (PSG)
In 2021: 38 goals, 14 assists. Won Copa America & Copa del Rey.
If there were any doubts over whether Messi’s slow start to life at PSG could affect his Ballon d’Or chances, he made sure to shut them down with his outrageous effort against Man City before the international break.
Producing such a moment in such a eye-catching Champions League game will, in all likelihood, ensure a seventh prize for the legendary Argentine come December plus he has just scored his 80th career international goal to help Argentina trash Uruguay 3-0 in the COMEBOL world cup qualifiers.
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