The favourites for Ballon d’Or 2021 so far as Messi and Ronaldo both shine on the international stage

top 5 uefa euros goal scorer of all time most goals.
Antoine Griezmann and Cristiano Ronaldo are both in the top 5 UEFA goal scorers of all time. (imago Images)

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Ballon d’Or, awarded by the French news magazine annually, is widely regarded as the most prestigious footballing award for a footballer playing in Europe, as the 2021 edition draws near.

First awarded in 1956 to the great Stanley Matthews, the award has seen some of the world’s best players lay claim to it over the years – increasing the prestige of the award and etching their name in footballing history in the process.

The Ballon d’Or 2021 is yet to have a date, time, or location. However, the award usually takes place in the last couple of months in the calendar year. This year’s Ballon d’Or is perhaps more special because the 2020 edition was scrapped due to Covid-19, with fans eagerly waiting for a new king of the European footballing world to be crowned.

The Ballon d’Or 2021 favourties

Here, we look at the top 5 front-runners and favourites for the Ballon d’Or 2021.

5. Harry Kane, ENG (Tottenham Hotspur)

Harry Kane won the Premier League Golden Boot as well as the Playmaker award, scoring the most number of goals as well as assists in the 2020/21 Premier League season. The 27-year-old has been one of England’s most potent goal-scorers in the past few years and kept that form up this season as well.

However, he failed to win any team trophy for Spurs and that could play a part in him being crowned the Ballon d’Or winner in 2021. But he has surely earned his place to be considered amongst one of the best players on the continent at the moment.

4. N’Golo Kante, FRA (Chelsea)

N’Golo Kante is a quality midfielder who’s been a regular for every manager who has undertaken the helm at Chelsea. The French midfielder, with his immense work rate, played an important part in Chelsea’s success under Thomas Tuchel.

Can N'Golo Kante defy the odds and win the 2021 Ballon d'Or?
Can N’Golo Kante defy the odds and win the 2021 Ballon d’Or? (GETTY Image)

The Blues won the UEFA Champions League after beating Manchester City in the final, with the 30-year-old midfielder being named the Man of the Match after a brilliant European campaign. If he achieves success with France in Euros 2020, he is surely one of the favourites to win the 2021 Ballon d’Or.

3. Cristiano Ronaldo, POR (Juventus)

Perhaps Cristiano Ronaldo is the victim of his own high standards that he has set in the past. The 5-time Ballon d’Or winner continues to produce the goods for club and country even at the age of 36. Consider his numbers for Juventus, for instance.

Cristiano Ronaldo is amongst the favourites to win the 2021 Ballon d'Or.
Cristiano Ronaldo is amongst the favourites to win the 2021 Ballon d’Or.

The Old Lady did not win the Serie A this season but the Portuguese forward was still the league’s top-scorer with 29 goals. He seems to be in fine form for Portugal as well, as his brace against Hungary in the opening UEFA Euros 2020 group game put him as the sole top-scorer in Euros history.

2. Lionel Messi, ARG (Barcelona)

Widely regarded by many as the greatest to ever play the beautiful game, Lionel Messi is, once again, amongst the front-runners to win the Ballon d’Or. The 6-time Ballon d’Or winner managed 38 goals and 14 assists for Barcelona this season.

However, while the Ballon d’Or award is given to an individual, history has proven that team trophies matter too. With the Catalan side not winning either the league or the UEFA Champions League, Messi could have that go against him in the 2021 edition of the award.

However, he has the chance to win Copa America for the first time in his career this summer. He scored a sumptuous free-kick against Chile earlier to show that he is a long way from being finished.

1. Robert Lewandowski, POL (Bayern Munich)

Robert Lewandowski would be the favourite for many to win the 2021 Ballon d’Or. The Polish striker has continued his excellent scoring form for Bayern Munich by finishing as Bundesliga’s top scorer for the 4th season running.

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He netted an incredible 41 league goals in 29 games for Bayern over the course of this season – numbers that surely place him at the top of the favourites list for Ballon d’Or 2021.

He is also at the UEFA Euro 2020 with Poland. While the Poles are not amongst the heavy favourites to win the tournament, a decent team performance could give Lewandowski further edge in the Ballon d’Or race.