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

Cameron Smith
Cameron Smith
  • Updated: 15 Sept 2022 11:28 BST
  • 9 min read
Lionel Messi celebrates scoring his first PSG goal
© ProShots

Ever since its inception in 1956, the Ballon d’Or has been the most coveted individual award in all of football.

Although a team sport, individuals have always dominated the sport and the big, gold award has often been used as a way of gauging which player is the very best in the world at any given time.

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


Here at FootballTransfers, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about the 2021 Ballon d’Or.

Who won the 2021 Ballon d'Or?

Lionel Messi won the Ballon d'Or 2021. It was the PSG's star's seventh title, extending his record.

Who were the top three in the 2021 Ballon d'Or?

Messi won the award, finishing ahead of Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and Chelsea star Jorginho, who won the Champions League with the Blues and Euro 2020 with Italy.

What was the shortlist for 2021 Ballon d’Or?

The 30-man shortlist for the award was announced on October 8, with the following nominees:

Cesar AzpilicuetaChelsea
Nicolo BarellaInter
Karim BenzemaReal Madrid
Leonardo BonucciJuventus
Kevin De BruyneMan City
Giorgio ChielliniJuventus
Cristiano RonaldoJuventus / Man Utd
Ruben DiasMan City
Gianluigi DonnarummaMilan / PSG
Bruno FernandesMan Utd
Phil FodenMan City
Erling HaalandDortmund
Harry KaneTottenham
N'Golo KanteChelsea
Simon KjaerMilan
Robert LewandowskiBayern Munich
Romelu LukakuInter / Chelsea
Riyad MahrezMan City
Lautaro MartinezInter
Kylian MbappePSG
Lionel MessiBarcelona / PSG
Luka ModricReal Madrid
Gerard MorenoVillarreal
Mason MountChelsea
Mohamed SalahLiverpool
Raheem SterlingMan City
Luis SuarezAtletico Madrid

Who was the favourite to win the 2021 Ballon d’Or?

Following the announcement of the 30-man shortlist, there had originally not been a great deal of movement in the odds for the prize.

Lionel Messi had been red-hot favourite to win the crown for the seventh time, but was temporarily overtaken by Robert Lewandowski with the bookmakers in the build up to the event.

This movement came about following an alleged leak at the start of November, which was said to show that Lewandowski had won.

However, another supposed leak showed that Messi was the winner.

“That’s a lot of b******t we’ve seen in the last 10 days. A big bluff,” France Football chief Pascal Ferre told Bild when asked about the leaks.

Despite the apparent leaks, Messi once again moved to the top of the list and was available at around 4/11 shortly before the event.

Lewandowski, in return, saw his odds lengthen to around 2/1.

Mohamed Salah's blistering form for Liverpool saw him third favourite at 22/1.

In fourth place was Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema following his impressive season for the Spanish side, which put him at 25/1.

Following his Champions League success with Chelsea and his Euro 2020 win with Italy, Jorginho rounded off the top five with odds at 33/1.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe and N'Golo Kante were all at 66/1.

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. Once that list has been completed, a selection of international journalists – one representative from each nation – 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 did the 2021 Ballon d’Or ceremony take place?

The 2021 Ballon d’Or ceremony will took place on Monday, 29 November.

Where did the 2021 Ballon d’Or ceremony take place?

The ceremony took place at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris.

Who presented the 2021 Ballon d’Or ceremony?

Sandy Heribert and Didier Drogba presented the event.

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.

Who will win the Ballon d’Or 2021? Shortlist, favourites, latest odds, date and hosts
© ProShots

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.

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 on 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.

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 2020.

Every Ballon d'Or winner

1956Stanley Matthews (England)
1957Alfredo Di Stefano (Spain)
1958Raymond Kopa (France)
1959Alfredo Di Stefano (Spain)
1960Luis Suarez (Spain)
1961Omar Sivori (Italy)
1962Josef Masopust (Czech Republic)
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
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 before 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 does Lionel Messi have?


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 does Cristiano Ronaldo have?

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.

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