Ballon d’Or nominees: Ronaldo and Messi top of 30-man shortlist
No player has won the famous individual accolade more times than Ronaldo and Messi, who can lay claim to five and six of the awards respectively.
Meanwhile, other leading contenders include Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski, who many felt would have won the prize in 2020 had it been awarded, and Chelsea star Jorginho, who helped his club side to the Champions League title and Italy to Euro 2020.
Nevertheless, Paris Saint-Germain's Messi, who won the Copa America with Argentina, remains the hot favourite for the prize, while Manchester United attacker Ronaldo is in the chasing pack.
Although neither player won their respective domestic leagues or the Champions League last season, they did have strong individual campaigns.
For example, Ronaldo still managed to pick up 36 goals and four assists in 44 games in all competitions, despite Juventus and Portugal’s relative failure to match expectations in their respective tournaments.
Meanwhile, Messi managed to bag 38 goals and 14 assists in 47 games last season as his Barcelona side managed little more than a Spanish Cup in domestic tournaments. However, the 34-year-old star did claim his first international title with Argentina at the Copa America.
After taking a one-year hiatus due to the global pandemic, the famous football award is back and will be presented to the best player in the world later this year.
However, before that can happen, the committee has made up a shortlist of the 30 men who are up for the award this year. And it includes a number of household names, as well as very few surprises.
The shortlist for the 2021 Ballon d’Or
|Karim Benzema||Real Madrid|
|Kevin De Bruyne||Man City|
|Cristiano Ronaldo||Juventus / Man Utd|
|Ruben Dias||Man City|
|Gianluigi Donnarumma||Milan / PSG|
|Bruno Fernandes||Man Utd|
|Phil Foden||Man City|
|Robert Lewandowski||Bayern Munich|
|Romelu Lukaku||Inter / Chelsea|
|Riyad Mahrez||Man City|
|Lionel Messi||Barcelona / PSG|
|Luka Modric||Real Madrid|
|Raheem Sterling||Man City|
|Luis Suarez||Atletico Madrid|