The Ballon d'Or is set to return after a year's absence and the race for the most prestigious award has been blown wide open.
The Ballon d'Or is widely seen as the most prestigious individual accolade in the history of the beautiful game. France Football magazine awards the Ballon d'Or and it is decided by a combination of votes from journalists, national team captains and coaches in world football.
The award was canceled in 2020 in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic but is likely to go ahead without any hitches this time around.
2021 Ballon d'Or race intensifies
Last year, we could all agree that there was a clear favourite to win the Ballon d'Or. Robert Lewandowski was a cut above the rest last year and Bayern Munich were absolutely unstoppable in Europe. However, other players have stepped up this time around and this Ballon d'Or race could go down to the wire.
Without further ado, let's take a look at the Ballon d'Or rankings for the month of April, 2021.
#10 Erling Haaland - Borussia Dortmund
Arguably the most sought-after striker in Europe at the moment, Erling Haaland has been a force to reckon with all season. Given Borussia Dortmund's current predicament with respect to their domestic and European campaigns, however, Haaland could end the season with no major trophies.
Dortmund crashed out of the Champions League and are now fifth in the Bundesliga table. They have made it to the semi-finals of the DFB Pokal and that's their only hope of silverware which in turn makes it hard for Haaland to stake a claim on the Ballon d'Or this year.
He also did not have a great month of April by his own standards. Haaland scored two goals and provided two assists this month and has taken his goal tally to 37 across all competitions for Borussia Dortmund. He has scored 18 goals and provided seven assists this year.
#9 Ruben Dias - Manchester City
Manchester City have mounted a challenge on all fronts this season but their dreams of winning the continental treble took a beating as they crashed out of the FA Cup in the semi-final against Chelsea.
But they remain favourites to win the Premier League and League Cup and are also one of the strongest contenders in the UEFA Champions League as well. Ruben Dias is one of the main reasons why Manchester City have been able to get back to their best.
Dias has been an absolute force in defense and he hardly ever puts a foot wrong. He has helped Manchester City keep 14 clean sheets in 28 appearances in the Premier League and has justified his €68 million price tag.
#8 Ilkay Gundogan - Manchester City
Ilkay Gundogan was in sublime form at the beginning of the year. He rose to the challenge in the absence of Kevin de Bruyne and supplied goals from midfield on a consistent basis. We've seen less of that in recent weeks and Gundogan has just one assist to his name in the month of April.
He is still one of Manchester City's best players this season. The German international has scored 16 goals for the Cityzens across all competitions but he is now starting to slip further down the rankings as his contribution starts to trickle.