The Ballon d'Or award is back in 2021 and the race to win football's most prestigious individual prize is heating up. When there is talk of the Ballon d'Or award, the two names which immediately come to mind are Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
The superstar duo have had their share of ups and downs this year and it will be interesting to see how they continue to perform over the next few months. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are joined on this list by 3 other superstars who have all been in top form since 2021.
International competitions in the summer might have a huge say in the final Ballon d'Or rankings of 2021
With the European Championships and Copa America set to be played in the summer, performances in both those competitions could have a huge say in the final Ballon d'Or 2021 standings.
With so much still to be decided, the race for the prestigious Ballon d'Or award is set to go right down to the wire.
Without further ado, let's take a look at the 5 favorites to win the Ballon d'Or award in 2021.
#5 Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City/Belgium)
Manchester City superstar Kevin De Bruyne is starting to hit his stride this season. After missing a few games through niggling injuries, the Belgian has made a strong comeback and has been in inspirational form for both club and country.
Arguably the best midfielder in world football right now, De Bruyne has already grabbed 11 assists and scored 5 goals in 23 Premier League appearances this season.
With Manchester City primed to make a serious bid for all 4 major trophies this season, De Bruyne could well be in with a very good shout at winning the Ballon d'Or in 2021.
Belgium are also one of the favored teams at the European Championships this summer and a deep run in that competition could provide the impetus and momentum for Kevin De Bruyne to challenge for football's most prestigious individual prize.
#4 Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus/Portugal)
It has been a tough 2 months for Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo fans. After getting knocked out of the UEFA Champions League against Porto, Juventus fell behind in the Serie A title race as well after a shock defeat against Benevento.
However, March was not without its personal highlights for Cristiano Ronaldo. The Juventus superstar scored a stunning hat-trick against Cagliari and also managed to grab a goal for Portugal against Luxemborg.
If Cristiano Ronaldo is to win the Ballon d'Or in 2021, he will need to inspire Portugal to the European Championships this summer. Portugal have a very strong side and are definitely capable of defending their title.
The top scorer in Serie A this season, Cristiano Ronaldo will be looking to break more records in 2021.
#3 Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Argentina)
6 time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi has been in breathtaking form for Barcelona in 2021. The Argentine maestro's future has been subject to intense speculation in the last few months but nothing has stopped Messi from being at his match-winning best in the last few weeks.
The Barcelona superstar has almost single-handedly brought the Catalan giants to within touching distance of a Copa del Rey and La Liga double. If Barcelona do manage to pull it off, it could help Lionel Messi add to his already glittering Ballon d'Or cabinet.
This summer, Lionel Messi also has the opportunity to finally win an international trophy. Argentina have a strong team and will be confident of making a huge impact in the tournament.
If Lionel Messi plays a starring role for Argentina, we might well see the little magician win his 7th Ballon d'Or title.
#2 Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich/Poland)
Robert Lewandowski was definitely denied the Ballon d'Or trophy in 2020 and some fans might be surprised to find him at the #2 position instead of #1. However, with Lewandowski suffering an injury recently, PSG will be confident of getting past Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals this year.
Poland are also not too fancied to make an impact at the European Championships and that might end up costing Lewandowski the Ballon d'Or award this year.
Having said that, Lewandowski's stats this season have been simply astounding. Undoubtedly the best 'number 9' in world football at the moment, Robert Lewandowski has scored a frankly unbelievable 35 goals in 25 Bundesliga appearances.
On current form, Lewandowski is arguably the best player in world football at the moment and his Ballon d'Or trophy chase might well boil down to how well Bayern Munich perform in the Champions League.
#1 Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain/France)
France's Boy Wonder, Kylian Mbappe has the whole world at his feet. After putting in a stupendous performance against Lionel Messi's Barcelona in the Champions League, the French superstar will be confident of repeating his heroics against Hansi Flick's Bayern Munich.
Top of the Ligue 1 scoring charts this season, Mbappe's blistering pace and clinical finishing is capable of causing any defense problems. What also gives him the edge over Robert Lewandowski at the moment is that France have an excellent chance of going deep into the tournament at the Euros.
With a full strength PSG set to take on a a Bayern Munich side without Robert Lewandowski, Mbappe could be in line to win his first Ballon d'Or award in 2021.