Who will win Ballon d’Or 2022? Shortlist, favourites, latest odds, date and past winners

Nicholas Hughes
Nicholas Hughes Updated: 4 May 2022 23:56 CEST 11 min read
Karim Benzema, Real Madrid, 2021-22

The Ballon d’Or is world football’s biggest individual prize, representing the best player on the planet for each calendar year.

Soccer’s top stars compete for the big award each year and look to shine above all others to ultimately hold the golden ball in their hands.

Here at FootballTransfers, we’ve got you covered with everything you need to know ahead of the 2022 Ballon d’Or ceremony.

What is the shortlist for the 2022 Ballon d’Or?

Ahead of the award being announced, a shortlist of players who are in the running is announced for the voters across the world to choose from.

The shortlist will feature 30 players that have impressed with their performances at club and international level and is usually announced over a month before the award is presented.

This 30-man list is later cut down to a final three-man shortlist ahead of the Ballon d'Or ceremony.

Who is the favourite to win the 2022 Ballon d’Or?

The odds currently have Real Madrid star Karim Benzema as the favourite at 10/10 following his stunning Champions League performances against PSG, Chelsea and Man City in the Champions League knock-out stages.

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah is second-favourite, coming in at 13/2.

Kevin de Bruyne has moved up the list thanks to his recent form and is now third at 10/1.

PSG star Kylian Mbappe is in fourth at 14/1 and won't be able to count on the 2022 Qatar World Cup to help his cause due to new rule changes.

Robert Lewandowski was the early favourite but has dropped to odds of 14/1.

Sadio Mane has seen his odds fall recently and is now at 25/1 after reaching the Champions League final with Liverpool and winning the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal.

Harry Kane, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are all longish shots at 33/1.

Even longer-shots include Dusan Vlahovic, Phil Foden and Declan Rice at 40/1. Erling Haaland and Pedri are priced at 50/1.

What are the 2022 Ballon d'Or rule changes?

The Ballon d'Or has undergone several big changes for its 2022 award. The most significant is the new schedule for the prize. While before it has been judged based on the calendar year (January to December), that has now been changed in accordance with the regular football season (August to July).

It means a player's entire season will be judged upon, rather than two half-seasons. As a result, the 2022 Qatar World Cup will influence the 2023 Ballon d'Or award, instead of the 2022 edition due to taking place in the winter.

The shortlisting process has also experienced a change. It was previously drafted by journalists working for France Football and L'Équipe, but that has now been altered.

Ballon d'Or ambassador Didier Drogba will now help to finalise the shortlists as well as the "most insightful voter" from the previous edition of the award. For the men's 2022 edition, Vietnamese journalist Truong Anh Ngoc, working for The Thao & Van Hoa, will have a say in the shortlist while Czech journalist Karolina Hlavackova, working for Ruik, will help finalise the 2022 Women's shortlist.

There has also been changes to the voting system. While 127 jurors, one from each country, were part of the process to decide the winner in 2021, that has now changed.

Now, only the top 100 ranked countries in FIFA's coefficient will be able to have one representative conduct their vote. This has been to eliminate the weakest footballing countries to ensure a fair method of voting didn't include too many people and votes from nations with less football expertise.

France Football have also cleared up the rules of how the award the victor. "The Ballon d'Or is an individual award. Also, logically, criterion number 1 will focus primarily on individual performance and the decisive and impressive character of the contenders.

“Since football remains a collective sport despite everything, criterion number 2 will focus on collective performance and the record accumulated during the season. Finally, criterion number 3 will concern the class of the player and his sense of fair play. Because setting an example also counts. The most attentive will have noticed the disappearance of the "player's career" criterion. A way of considering the race for the Ballon d'Or as an open competition, and not as a preserve.”

It has placed focus primarily on a player's individual season, with trophies as part of a team not as important.

How is the Ballon d’Or decided and who votes?

The initial 30-man shortlist is compiled by the editors at France Football, the organisers of the event, and now Drogba and one selected journalist. Once that list has been completed, a selection of international journalists – one representative from the top 100 nations – and national team coaches and captains come together to decide the winner.

They are each asked to choose their top five players from the 30 selected, and order them from first to fifth based on: individual and collective performances during the year, player class and an overall view of the player’s career.

The player who is selected as the winner by each of the selection panel is awarded six points, second-place is given four points, down to one point for fifth place.

The total points for each player from every journalist, coach and captain are then added together to decide third, second and first place.

When does the 2022 Ballon d’Or ceremony take place?

The Ballon d’Or is a now an award that celebrates the achievements of a player over one football season rather than a calendar year, so the date of the ceremony may change.

The 2021 Ballon d’Or ceremony took place on Monday, 29 November, so the 2022 awards night will likely be earlier in the year. However, a date is yet to be set.

Where will the 2022 Ballon d’Or ceremony be?

Given that the award is now run by France Football, it is fairly likely that the ceremony will be held somewhere in France.

The 2021 gala took place in Paris at the Theatre du Chatelet, the same venue for the 2019 ceremony as well, so it appears that the Ballon d’Or has found its home.

Who will present the 2022 Ballon d’Or ceremony?

It’s customary for major football award nights and competition draws to feature a famous ex-professional player to help host the event.

The Ballon d’Or is no different, and Chelsea hero Didier Drogba has hosted the last two Ballon d’Or ceremonies alongside French journalist Sandy Heribert, and the pair could be called upon again.

Who won the 2021 Ballon d’Or?

Messi claimed a record seventh Ballon d’Or crown in 2021, owing to a superb second half of the 2020/21 season at Barcelona.

The Argentine racked up 30 goals and 10 assists in 29 matches in all competitions after the turn of the year, almost single-handedly propelling Barca to a La Liga title that had looked impossible earlier in the campaign.

READ MORE: Who won the Ballon d’Or 2021? Shortlist, favourites, latest odds, date and hosts

He followed that up by finally lifting the first international trophy of his career, with his four goals and five assists also securing him the Golden Boot and Player of the Tournament honours at the Copa America.

Messi beat challengers Lewandowski, Jorginho and Benzema to the award, taking him two clear of long-time rival Ronaldo.

Why was the 2020 Ballon d’Or cancelled?

The 2020 Ballon d’Or was controversially cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The pause in world football in March 2020 caused uncertainty over whether games would be played and if the season would be finished.

Indeed, both Ligue 1 and the Eredivisie ended their seasons early due to the pandemic, while international competitions like Euro 2020 were postponed.

The Ballon d’Or was cancelled on 20 July 2020, with France Football revealing the reason it would not be held was due to the “lack of a sufficiently level playing field” caused by the virus.

Robert Lewndowski, Germany's Footballer of the Year 2021

They added: “We did not want to put an indelible asterisk on the prize list as ‘a trophy won in exceptional circumstances due to the health crisis of Covid-19’.

“Protecting the credibility and legitimacy of such a prize also means guaranteeing its irreproachability over time.”

Bayern Munich’s Lewandowski was the favourite for the award had it not been cancelled.

The Pole was widely considered the deserving winner of the award and there has been a campaign in the footballing world to award him what is perceived to be a deserved accomplishment.

Between the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons, Lewandowski had an absurd 101 goals and 18 assists in 85 club games, helping Bayern to the Champions League title in 2020 and also winning the FIFA Best Men’s Player award.

Upon receiving the 2021 Ballon d’Or, Messi acknowledged that Lewandowski should have the 2020 award in his trophy cabinet.

“Robert, you deserve your Ballon d’Or. Last year, everyone was in agreement to say that you were the big winner of this award,” he said.

Past winners of the Ballon d'Or

1956Stanley Matthews (England)
1957Alfredo Di Stefano (Spain)
1958Raymond Kopa (France)
1959Alfredo Di Stefano (Spain)
1960Luis Suarez (Spain)
1961Omar Sivori (Italy)
1962Josef Masopust (Czechoslovakia)
1963Lev Yashin (USSR)
1964Denis Law (Scotland)
1965Eusebio (Portugal)
1966Bobby Charlton (England)
1967Florian Albert (Hungary)
1968George Best (Northern Ireland)
1969Gianni Rivera (Italy)
1970Gerd Muller (Germany)
1971Johan Cruyff (Netherlands)
1972Franz Beckenbauer (Germany)
1973Johan Cruyff (Netherlands)
1974Johan Cruyff (Netherlands)
1975Oleg Blokhin (USSR)
1976Franz Beckenbauer (Germany)
1977Allan Simonsen (Denmark)
1978Kevin Keegan (England)
1979Kevin Keegan (England)
1980Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (Germany)
1981Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (Germany)
1982Paolo Rossi (Italy)
1983Michel Platini (France)
1984Michel Platini (France)
1985Michel Platini (France)
1986Igor Belanov (USSR)
1987Ruud Gullit (Netherlands)
1988Marco van Basten (Netherlands)
1989Marco van Basten (Netherlands)
1990Lothar Matthaus (Germany)
1991Jean-Pierre Papin (France)
1992Marco van Basten (Netherlands)
1993Roberto Baggio (Italy)
1994Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria)
1995George Weah (Liberia)
1996Matthias Sammer (Germany)
1997Ronaldo (Brazil)
1998Zinedine Zidane (France)
1999Rivaldo (Brazil)
2000Luis Figo (Portugal)
2001Michael Owen (England)
2002Ronaldo (Brazil)
2003Pavel Nedved (Czech Republic)
2004Andriy Shevchenko (Ukraine)
2005Ronaldinho (Brazil)
2006Fabio Cannavaro (Italy)
2007Kaka (Brazil)
2008Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
2009Lionel Messi (Argentina)
2010Lionel Messi (Argentina)
2011Lionel Messi (Argentina)
2012Lionel Messi (Argentina)
2013Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
2014Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
2015Lionel Messi (Argentina)
2016Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
2017Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
2018Luka Modric(Croatia)
2019Lionel Messi (Argentina)
2021Lionel Messi (Argentina)

Who has won the most Ballon d’Or trophies?

Lionel Messi has won the most Ballon d’Or trophies in football history. The former Barcelona forward has come out on top seven times.

The Argentina star won the first of his six trophies in 2009. Further triumphs followed in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2019 before his most recent victory in 2021.

Cristiano Ronaldo is next in the standings with five wins. There are three players who have each come out on top three times.

They are Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten.

How many Ballon d’Or trophies has Lionel Messi won?

Seven. As well as his record number of victories, Messi has finished in second place for the Ballon d’Or five times and in third position once, giving him 13 appearances in the top three.

How many Ballon d’Or trophies has Cristiano Ronaldo won?

Ronaldo has won the Ballon d’Or five times in his illustrious career.

He claimed his first in 2008, with further successes coming in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017.

The Portugal star has also recorded six second-place finishes as well as coming third once.

He finished sixth in 2021.

What is the Kopa Trophy?

The Kopa Trophy is an award that recognises the best-performing player under the age of 21, and was first introduced in 2018. The award is voted for by former Ballon d'Or winners.

The award is named after Raymond Kopa, a French footballling legend that won three European Cup titles with Real Madrid and won the Ballon d'Or in 1958.

Just like the Ballon d'Or, the Kopa Trophy was cancelled in 2020 so it has only been given out three times, with three different winners on each occasion.

Kylian Mbappe won the inaugural award after helping France to win the World Cup before Matthijs de Ligt claimed the prize in 2019 on the back of Ajax's outstanding Champions League campaign.

Pedri is the current holder of the award after a stunning breakout season at Barcelona in 2020-21 that also saw him play a pivotal role for Spain at both the Euros and the Olympics.

Past winners of the Kopa Trophy

2018Kylian Mbappe (France)
2019 Matthijs de Ligt (Netherlands)
2021Pedri (Spain)

What is the Yashin Trophy?

The Yashin Trophy is awarded to the world's best goalkeeper each year, and is aptly named after Russian Lev Yashin, who is considered by many to have been the best goalkeeper of all time.

Just like the Kopa Trophy, former Ballon d'Or winners cast a vote to decide the winner, and the first award was won by Liverpool's Alisson Becker in 2019.

Gianluigi Donnarumma was rewarded for a remarkable Euro 2020 campaign by winning the 2021 Yashin Trophy, just the second time the honour has been given out.

Past winners of the Yashin Trophy

2019 Alisson Becker (Brazil)
2021Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy)

What is the Women’s Ballon d’Or?

Alongside the men’s award, there is also a women’s Ballon d’Or that was introduced in 2018.

Like the men’s award, journalists from around the world vote for who has been the best player in the world during the calendar year. Lyon striker Ada Hegerberg won the inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or in 2018 and Megan Rapinoe lifted the prize in 2019.

The women’s ceremony was also cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Barcelona and Spain midfielder Alexia Putellas won the 2021 award.

Past winners of the Women's Ballon d'Or

2018 Ada Hegerberg (Sweden)
2019Megan Rapinoe (U.S.A)
2021Alexia Putellas (Spain)

What was the FIFA Ballon d’Or?

The Ballon d’Or has been its own award since 1956, but between 2010 and 2015, it merged with FIFA’s ‘World Player of the Year’ award to form the FIFA Ballon d’Or.

The FIFA World Player of the Year had been an award between 1991 and 2009, with both Ronaldo Nazario and Zinedine Zidane winning it three times, before it joined with the Ballon d’Or in 2010.

Messi won the first-ever joint award, and retained it in 2011 and 2012 as well, with Cristiano Ronaldo winning successive awards in 2013 and 2014, before Messi won the final iteration of the award in 2015.

For 2016, FIFA and France Football parted ways, with the Ballon d’Or back to being its own independent award. FIFA, meanwhile, resurrected its previous award under a new name: The Best FIFA Men’s Player.

Lewandowski is the current holder of this award after winning it in 2021.