#3 Robert Lewandowski - Poland/Bayern Munich
Robert Lewandowski is arguably the best striker on the planet right now. The Polish international was in incredible goalscoring form in the 2020-21 season. He broke Gerd Muller's record of most goals scored (40) in a 38-game Bundesliga season.
Lewandowski scored 41 in just 29 Bundesliga appearances and had a tally of 48 goals and nine assists from 40 appearances across all competitions. The 33-year-old was Bayern Munich's best player as they won the Bundesliga in the 2020-21 season.
He has got off to a flying start in the new season. Lewandowski has already scored seven goals in just four appearances so far across all competitions. He is perhaps the most lethal finisher on the planet and is justified in feeling robbed off the Ballon d'Or in 2020 when the award was canceled last year.
#2 Jorginho - Italy/Jorginho
No professional footballer has had a summer that matches Jorginho's. Chelsea's midfield metronome held the fort down in the center of the pitch as the Blues won the UEFA Champions League title. He then went and did the same for the Italian national team as they emerged champions at Euro 2020.
Jorginho also won the UEFA Super Cup as Chelsea beat Villarreal last month. The 29-year-old central midfielder was also chosen as the UEFA Men's Player of the Year. Goals + assist numbers are not a good criterion to judge central midfielders by.
Jorginho is one of the most technically refined midfielders who is also renowned for his wonderful distribution. Tagged as a darkhorse in the Ballon d'Or race in earlier months, Jorginho has truly become one of the favourites to win it now.
#1 Lionel Messi - Argentina/Paris Saint-Germain
It's still strange not to see Barcelona's name next to Lionel Messi's. The Argentine was the subject of the biggest transfer story of the summer. But don't let that take anything away from the absolutely stellar performances he turned in during Argentina's triumphant run at the Copa America 2021.
Messi won the Golden Boot and the Best Player Award at the continental tournament as Argentina won the Copa America after 28 years. Messi scored four goals and provided five assists in the tournament.
In the 2020-21 season, Messi was Barcelona's best player by a country mile. He scored 38 goals and provided 14 assists in 47 appearances across all competitions for the Catalans. Messi could very well win a record seventh Ballon d'Or this year.