Relive the best moments of Messi‘s six Ballon d’Or triumphs
Lionel Messi is expected to collect his seventh Ballon d’Or award at a glittering 2021 ceremony in Paris this evening. Messi is the favourite after winning the Copa America with Argentina earlier this year, despite one of his less impressive years at club level: Barcelona finished third in La Liga and fell in the first knockout round of the Champions League. However, Messi scored two goals as Barca won the Copa del Rey final and he was La Liga’s top goalscorer once more, before switching to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.
Robert Lewandowski was widely expected to win last year’s award before it was cancelled due to the pandemic, and the Bayern Munich striker is in the running once again. Chelsea’s Jorginho is another candidate, having won the Champions League with his club and Euro 2020 with his country Italy a couple of months later.
Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas and Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema lead the charge for the women’s award. Putellas scored in the final as the all-conquering Barca won the Champions League, while Miedema is both Netherlands and Women’s Super League all-time leading goalscorer and racked up goals at the Olympic Games. Spain’s Pedri is expected to win the Kopa Trophy for the best men’s young player, while Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy and PSG’s Gianluigi Donnarumma lead the running for the men’s goalkeeper award, the Yashin Trophy.
The ceremony takes place tonight at the Chatelet Theatre in Paris, starting from 7.30pm GMT. It will be streamed live online via L’Equipe’s YouTube channel, and Eurosport will also be streaming the award on its website and the Eurosport app. The ceremony is expected to end around 9pm GMT. You can follow all the latest updates below.
Ballon d’Or 2021: Neymar brings up halfway point of rankings
There’s the man we mentioned the injury of earlier – PSG’s Neymar comes 16th, just inside the bottom half of the world’s top 30 players for 2021. Which sounds both bad and good at the same time, weirdly.
Not the year he would have hoped for overall, especially given no Ligue 1 title win, but still lots of votes his way to put him among the game’s top talents.
Karl Matchett29 November 2021 17:21
Ballon d’Or 2021: Which players are still in the running?
Right, 30 started on the list and we’re almost halfway through, with 14 names already revealed. Still remaining, in alphabetical order:
Benzema (Real), Bonucci (Juventus), Chiellini (Juventus), De Bruyne (Man City), Cristiano Ronaldo (Man United), Donnarumma (PSG), Haaland (Dortmund), Jorginho (Chelsea), Kante (Chelsea), Lewandowski (Bayern), Lukaku (Chelsea), Mbappe (PSG), Messi (PSG), Neymar (PSG), Salah (Liverpool), Sterling (Man City).
Karl Matchett29 November 2021 17:19
Ballon d’Or 2021: Luis Suarez voted into 17th
A former Premier League player now and another of last season’s title-winners: Luis Suarez comes 17th after helping Atletico Madrid to the championship in LaLiga by firing in 21 goals. Not bad for a free transfer!
Karl Matchett29 November 2021 17:07
Ballon d’Or 2021: Kjaer in 18th
Denmark and AC Milan centre-back Simon Kjaer ranks at 18 after an excellent individual season and a year of real progression for club and country, too. Euros semis for the Danes – and don’t forget his pivotal role to help Christian Eriksen after his on-pitch collapse, too.
Karl Matchett29 November 2021 17:00
Ballon d’Or 2021: Mason Mount ranked 19th
Oh look, we talked it up – here’s Mason Mount and he’s the 19th-best player in world football for 2021.
Quite the achievement for a player who was on loan at Derby County two-and-a-half years ago.
Karl Matchett29 November 2021 16:58
Ballon d’Or 2021: England’s representatives
So far two of the four England players among the shortlisted group have been revealed:
Phil Foden finished 25th and Harry Kane was two places above him.
Still to come are Chelsea’s Mason Mount and Man City’s Raheem Sterling. The former won the Champions League, the latter reached the final and won the Premier League and both were in England’s squad to reach the final of Euro 2020.
Karl Matchett29 November 2021 16:56
Ballon d’Or 2021: Build-up to the ceremony
Assuming the ‘censored’ part of this image is a name – presumably the winner – I guess we can rule out 19-character Gianluigi Donnarumma…that’s never fitting in that space, is it?! More than enough space to type ‘Simon Kjaer’, though.
Karl Matchett29 November 2021 16:48
Ballon d’Or 2021: Rankings from 30-20
T29 – Luka Modric, Cesar Azpilicueta
T26 – Gerard Moreno, Nicolo Barella, Ruben Dias
21 – Lautaro Martinez, Bruno Fernandes
Karl Matchett29 November 2021 16:44
Ballon d’Or 2021: Top 20 kicks off with Mahrez
Man City winger Riyad Mahrez is next out – he’s ranked 20th. The Algerian winger scored four times across the Champions League quarters and semi-finals to help his side to the final, where he played the full 90 minutes in defeat. He was a regular in the attack as City won the Premier League, too.
Karl Matchett29 November 2021 16:40
Ballon d’Or 2021: Bruno Fernandes just outside top 20
The next two names are unveiled and we’ve got Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes, along with Argentina and Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez.
They come in tied for 21st.
Fernandes of course had an incredible start to the year with United as his scoring form continued, and his Europa League form was good too – though he didn’t have quite the required impact at the Euros. Martinez helped Inter to the Serie A title and was the starting centre-forward for his nation as they won the Copa America.
Karl Matchett29 November 2021 16:34
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