#3 Neymar Jr. - Brazil/Paris Saint-Germain
There is an argument that Neymar could have gone on to achieve way more recognition had he just stayed put at Barcelona. However, since copping a move to Paris Saint-Germain, the Brazilian has truly helped transform the Ligue 1 giants into a dominant force in Europe.
He has always been touted as the immediate successor to the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. A few injury issues have stopped him from featuring as regularly for his side as he would have liked to in recent seasons. But there are few footballers who are as exciting to watch as Neymar is.
In the 2020-21 season, he scored 17 goals and provided 11 assists in 31 appearances for Paris Saint-Germain across all competitions. He was also one of Brazil's best players as they made it to the final of the 2021 Copa America, scoring two goals and providing three assists for the Selecao.
Although he is 29, Neymar has enough quality to still go on to win multiple Ballons d'Or as he was expected to when he first broke onto the scene.
#2 Erling Haaland - Norway/Borussia Dortmund
The athletic and relentless Erling Haaland is already an immaculate finisher and he has just turned 21. He is already the most sought-after striker in the world but Borussia Dortmund are not willing to part with him.
The Norwegian international scored 41 goals and provided 12 assists in 41 appearances across all competitions for Borussia Dortmund in the 2020-21 season. Haaland has made a huge impact at Borussia Dortmund and has gone from strength to strength ever since he joined from RB Salzburg.
He was already scoring goals for fun whilst at RB Salzburg. 'The Terminator' as he is lovingly called by his admirers, Haaland is physically dominant and showcases great composure in front of goal.
He is one of the most prolific strikers in the business and will only get better. Haaland is expected to be a top contender in the Ballon d'Or race for years to come.
#1 Kylian Mbappe - France/Paris Saint-Germain
Kylian Mbappe had a rather underwhelming outing at Euro 2020. He didn't score in four games and managed to muster just a single assist. He also missed a crucial penalty in the shootout as France crashed out in the Round of 16 against Switzerland.
But that is not a fair reflection of how phenomenal Mbappe has been over the past several seasons. If Paris Saint-Germain had gone on to win major trophies in the 2020-21 season, Mbappe would be a top contender for the Ballon d'Or this year.
In the 2020-21 season, Mbappe scored 42 goals and provided 11 assists in 47 appearances across all competitions for Paris Saint-Germain. He is unstoppable on his day with his pace, trickery, tactical intelligence and maturity constantly causing big problems for the opposition.
Real Madrid are being heavily linked with Mbappe and whether or not his future lies away from PSG is anyone's guess at the moment. But the World Cup winner is already one of the biggest stars in football. It will be nearly impossible to displace him from the Ballon d'Or podium in the years to come.
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