Since the inception of Ballon d’Or in 1956, for the first time, the highest individual accolade was ruled out in 2020 due to the hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. With football returning to normalcy steadily, the prestigious Ballon d’Or silverware is once again up for grabs. With no surprises, there are many familiar faces being named in the 30-man-shortlist revealed by France Football recently. However, the award is set to be announced on November 29 in Paris, before which various top-rated players are fighting to earn their spots among the top individual honours.
Come the 2020-21 season, Lewandowski left no stone unturned to put forward his claim for the award. With just over a month remaining for the winner of Ballon d’Or to be announced in France, let us look upon the top 5 favourites to win this individual silverware based on their performance throughout the current year and the 2020-21 season.
Ranking the Top 5 Favorites for Ballon D’or
- N’Golo Kante
He was one of the key figures for Chelsea during their triumph in the 2020-21 Champions League. This French mid-fielder pored in insatiable work-rate and all-action style overpowering both Madrid sides in the European competition. Moreover, when Thomas Tuchel’s side found it tough to stamp their authority in the Premier League with players facing fatigue, it was Kante who not only led them but his performances ensured Chelsea remains among the top teams in the Premier League.
Having being named Man of the Match in the semi-finals, N’Golo Kante went one step ahead to even help Chelsea conquer the ‘absolute unthinkable’ in Champion League. Having an accuracy of over 80% in passing throughout the majority of the games he was a part of, Kante stands as one of the best mid-fielders to have represented the club and country.
- Kevin De Bruyne
He was one of the most dashing players in the 2020-21 Premier League season, having helped Pep Guardiola’s side become champions yet again. Even when Manchester City faced tough opponents on the European stage, Kevin De Bruyne’s ability to run the game helped boys from Etihad Arena stamp their authority. Known to be the architect for City’s success, the 30-year-old has been amongst the best passers for numerous seasons.
Not many are aware but the Belgium star has joined only Cristiano Ronaldo and Thierry Henry in winning successive PFA Player of the Year accolades. But ever since his injury, Kevin De Bruyne has dropped places in this elite significantly.
Before the start of the 2020-21 domestic season, not many would have predicted Jorginho to be amongst the top 3 nominees for Ballon d'Or. Yet his contribution since Thomas Tuchel has been beyond description. If trophies were the way to win the highest individual accolade, Jorginho stands to be the hands-down winner. Jorginho helped Chelsea script history in the Champions League, then followed by Italy’s triumph in Euro 2020.
Just when people seemed to lower his claim for Ballon d’Or, Jorginho was named the UEFA’s Player of the Year as well.
- Lionel Messi
If Lionel Messi had a last chance to win an international trophy with Argentina, Copa America 2021 in Brazil was the last stage. With Argentina being a squad full of stars, Messi was the headliner maker. He did not lead Argentina throughout the group stage, but also ended up winning the best player award in the tournament.
Moreover, when FC Barcelona was struggling in the 2020-21 season with Luis Suarez having to leave the club. LM10 was the craftsman behind Catalan standing a chance to fight for the domestic title. In addition, the 34-year-old finished his last season in La Liga as the highest goal scorer.
- Robert Lewandowski
2020 seemed to be a year that hurt Robert Lewandowski the most. With Bayern Munich winning the Champions League and Bundesliga, it was Lewandowski who ran riots upon every team. He scored 55 goals for Bayern Munich in their treble triumph last season.
Lastly, the 33-year-old scored goals at an extraordinary rate since including scoring a record-breaking 41 goals in just 29 Bundesliga appearances in the 2020-21 season.