The likes of Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski, Jorginho, Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante have been named on the 30-man shortlist for the 2021 men’s Ballon d’Or award, which rewards footballers for their supreme performances throughout the calendar year.

Unlike the years dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi, this year, there is no standout option, but the Argentine, along with Lewandowski, Jorginho, Benzema and Kante are the leading contenders for the prize handed out by France Football. Ronaldo will also have an outside shout given he led the scoring charts in Italy last season and has also had a strong start in Manchester United.

Also read: Et Tu SAF? Ronaldo should have started: Sir Alex Ferguson on Everton game

Meanwhile, Messi will be right in the mix to lift the Ballon d’Or for the seventh time as he lifted his first major international trophy after winning the Copa America with Argentina in the summer. Kante and Jorginho both helped Chelsea win the Champions League.

Kante was named UEFA Player of the Match in both semi-final legs against Real Madrid, as well as in the final versus Manchester City, and Jorginho was instrumental in Italy’s EURO 2020 victory.

Chelsea and Premier League champions Manchester City are the team with the highest nominations. 

Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski missed out on the 2020 award, with the 33-year-old widely expected to claim the individual award before it was cancelled by organisers due to the pandemic.

Real Madrid forward Benzema also had a tremendous 2020-21 season, where he scored 23 goals in 34 La Liga matches and scored four goals in EURO 2020. 

Also Read: Kylian Mbappe ‘asked to leave’ PSG amid summer interest from Real Madrid

Top men’s nominees:

  1. Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
  2. Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan)
  3. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
  4. Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus)
  5. Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)
  6. Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)
  7. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
  8. Ruben Dias (Manchester City)
  9. Gianluigi Donnarumma (Paris Saint-Germain)
  10. Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
  11. Phil Foden (Manchester City)
  12. Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
  13. Jorginho (Chelsea)
  14. Harry Kane (Tottenham)
  15. N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
  16. Simon Kjaer (AC Milan)
  17. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
  18. Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea)
  19. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)
  20. Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan)
  21. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)
  22. Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain)
  23. Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
  24. Gerard Moreno (Villarreal)
  25. Mason Mount (Chelsea)
  26. Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain)
  27. Pedri (Barcelona)
  28. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
  29. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
  30. Luis Suarez (Atletico Madrid)

A total of 20 players have been nominated, including four members of the Barcelona team which secured victory in the Women’s Champions League last season and another – Irene Paredes – who has since joined the all-conquering Catalan side.

Also read: Newcastle takeover ‘real shame’: Killed Prince-critic Khashoggi’s fiancee

Top women’s nominees:

  1. Alexia Putellas (Barcelona)
  2. Magdalena Eriksson (Chelsea)
  3. Marie-Antoinette Katoto (PSG)
  4. Sam Kerr (Chelsea)
  5. Stina Blackstenius (BK Hacken)
  6. Wendie Renard (Lyon)
  7. Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage)
  8. Pernille Harder (Chelsea)
  9. Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal)
  10. Sandra Panos (Barcelona)
  11. Lieke Martens (Barcelona)
  12. Jessie Fleming (Chelsea)
  13. Irene Paredes (Barcelona)
  14. Ashley Lawrence (PSG)
  15. Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns)
  16. Ellen White (Man City)
  17. Christiane Endler (Lyon)
  18. Jennifer Hermoso (Barcelona)
  19. Fran Kirby (Chelsea)
  20. Kaddiatou Diani (PSG)