The Ballon d'Or 2021 30-man shortlist was announced by France Football last night. Usual suspects like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski and Jorginho all made it.
However, some players who have had stellar seasons have been left out completely from the 30-man Ballon d'Or shortlist. These players have been immense for their respective teams and played important roles for their club and country.
Ballon d'Or award to be announced on November 29th
Lionel Messi is the favorite to claim the prestigious individual prize on November 29th this year. He will, however, face stiff competition from the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Jorginho.
While the 5 players on the list might not have been favorites, they are definitely among the top 30 players in world football at the moment.
Without further ado, let us take a look at:
5 deserving players who did not make the 30-man Ballon d'Or shortlist
#5 Casemiro (Real Madrid/Brazil)
One of the best defensive midfielders of this generation, Casemiro had an incredibly consistent year with both Real Madrid and the Brazil national team.
Capable of breaking up play and setting up attacks, the Brazilian midfielder is one of the first names on the teamsheet for Los Blancos.
A leader in the Brazilian national team as well, Casemiro's performances over the last year definitely merited inclusion in the 30-man Ballon d'Or shortlist. Casemiro's presence in the team gives freedom to the likes of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and the rest of the Real Madrid players.
The Brazilian is definitely among the best midfielders in world football at the moment and it is a huge surprise to see his name missing from the Ballon d'Or shortlist.
#4 Emi Martinez (Aston Villa/Argentina)
Argentina's Copa America 2021 triumph has made Lionel Messi the favorite to win this year's Ballon d'Or award. One player who played a key role in that triumph was goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.
The 29-year-old shotstopper made some crucial saves and was the hero in the penalty shootout which Argentina won against Colombia in the semi-final. One of the best goalkeepers in the world at the moment, Martinez has seen his stock rise exponentially in the last year.
Capable of commanding the box and being a great shot-stopper, Martinez's heroics for both Aston Villa and Argentina definitely merited a place on the 30-man Ballon d'Or shortlist.