The Ballon d'Or is the most prestigious prize in football. The award is presented by French news magazine France Football to the best performing footballer in a calendar year. France Football released the Ballon d'Or 30-man shortlist earlier this month and there were quite a few surprises.
Record seven-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi was left off the shortlist. But there are plenty of familiar names. The Ballon d'Or winner will ultimately be chosen on the basis of a combination of votes from media representatives, national team captains and coaches.
The 2022 Ballon d'Or ceremony will take place on October 17. We're just a month and a half away from finding out who is taking home the coveted prize this year.
Without further ado, let's take a look at the Ballon d'Or Power Rankings for the month of August 2022.
#10 Erling Haaland (Norway/Manchester City)
Despite being sidelined for a major chunk of the 2021-22 season, Haaland was able to showcase his elite marksmanship. The Norway international scored 29 goals and provided eight assists in 30 appearances across all competitions for Borussia Dortmund last term.
He joined Manchester City earlier this summer. The 22-year-old has got off to a very good start to the new season, scoring three goals and providing an assist in three Premier League appearances so far. Although he might not come close to the podium this time around, he is tipped to be a future Ballon d'Or winner.
#9 Son Heung-Min (South Korea/Tottenham Hotspur)
In the 2021-22 season, Son Heung-Min became the first ever Asian player to win the Golden Boot in any of Europe's top five leagues. He shared it with Mohamed Salah after both of them scored 23 goals in the English top flight last term.
The 30-year-old was the main man for Spurs last season as they finished fourth in the Premier League table and qualified for the UEFA Champions League. He scored 24 goals and provided 10 assists in 45 appearances across all competitions.
Son has got off to a slow start to the new season though, providing just one assist in three appearances so far.
#8 Mohamed Salah (Egypt/Liverpool)
Mohamed Salah was arguably the most in-form forward in the world in the first half of the 2021-22 season. But the Egypt international's form tailed off drastically in the second half of the campaign. He did win the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup last term but missed out on the Champions League and Premier League titles.
Salah also missed out on the 2021 AFCON after Egypt fell to Senegal in a shootout in the final. The 30-year-old also failed to guide Egypt to World Cup qualification, losing to the same opponent in the third round of the World Cup qualifiers.
He won the Premier League Golden Boot last term but his dip in form since the turn of the year sees him fall down a few places in the Ballon d'Or Power Rankings.
Salah scored 31 goals and provided 16 assists in 51 appearances across all competitions for Liverpool last season. He has scored three goals and provided one assist in four appearances across all competitions so far in the new campaign.
#7 Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium/Manchester City)
Kevin De Bruyne's consistency and sheer individual brilliance played a huge role in making Manchester City the Premier League champions last term. His playmaking skills and ability to score goals from midfield made Pep Guardiola's side almost indomitable.
The 31-year-old scored 19 goals and provided 14 assists in 45 appearances across all competitions for Manchester City last term. He has got off to a very good start to the new Premier League campaign as well, scoring a goal and providing three assists in three appearances so far.
#6 Luka Modric (Croatia/Real Madrid)
Luka Modric was Real Madrid's architect-in-chief in midfield as they won the La Liga and Champions League titles last term. The Croatia international may have crossed over to his late 30s but he is still every bit the elite playmaker that we've become familiar with over the last decade.
Modric came up clutch on multiple occasions as Real Madrid overcame the odds to become the champions of Europe. He scored three goals and provided 12 assists in 45 appearances across all competitions for Los Blancos in the 2021-22 season.
The 2018 Ballon d'Or winner might not win the award this time around though.
#5 Vinicius Jr. (Brazil/Real Madrid)
Vinicius Jr. was undoubtedly the most improved player in Europe's top five leagues last season. He was a different beast last term, burgeoning into a world-class winger who was also the perfect foil for Karim Benzema.
The Brazilian attacker terrorized defenders with his elite dribbling skills and unpredictability inside the final third. He scored 22 goals and provided 20 assists in 52 appearances across all competitions for Real Madrid in the 2021-22 season.
Vinicius also scored the winning goal for Real Madrid in the Champions League final against Liverpool last term. We won't be very surprised if Vinicius makes the Ballon d'Or podium this time around.
#4 Kylian Mbappe (France/Paris Saint-Germain)
The Paris Saint-Germain trophy cabinet did not fully reflect the sheer potential they had in their ranks last season. If it did, Kylian Mbappe would be the top contender to win the Ballon d'Or this year. He scored 39 goals and provided 26 assists in 46 appearances across all competitions for Paris Saint-Germain last term.
Those numbers underline the fact that Mbappe is arguably the finest attacker in the world right now. He finished the 2021-22 Ligue 1 season as the top scorer and the top assist provider. However, having won just the league title, he is unlikely to win football's most coveted individual honor this year.
#3 Robert Lewandowski (Poland/Barcelona)
Robert Lewandowski picked up his second successive European Golden Shoe last season, scoring 35 goals in the Bundesliga. The Poland international won the Bundesliga title with Bayern Munich last season as well.
He scored half a century of goals and provided seven assists in the 2021-22 season in 46 appearances across all competitions for the Bavarians. He also led the Polish national team to World Cup qualification. However, the Ballon d'Or is likely to stay out of reach for Lewandowski this year as well.
#2 Sadio Mane (Senegal/Bayern Munich)
Sadio Mane is being missed sorely at Liverpool. But he is thriving at his new club Bayern Munich. After looking like he was starting to fade in the first half of last season, Mane made a resounding comeback.
He finished the 2021-22 season with 23 goals and five assists in 51 appearances across all competitions for the Merseysiders last term. The Senegal international played a massive role in their FA Cup and Carabao Cup triumphs.
Mane led Senegal to glory at the 2021 AFCON and was also named the 'Player of the Tournament'. He also helped his national team secure World Cup qualification and was recently named the 'CAF Player of the Year'.
#1 Karim Benzema (France/Real Madrid)
Real Madrid frontman Karim Benzema is the odds-on favorite to win the Ballon d'Or this year. The French striker propelled Carlo Ancelotti's side to Champions League and La Liga glory in the 2021-22 season.
His individual brilliance shone through as Real Madrid defied the odds to become the champions of Europe. Benzema scored hat-tricks against PSG and Chelsea in the Round of 16 and the quarter-finals respectively.
He followed it up with a brace against Manchester City in the semi-finals. It's worth noting that Benzema also scored the winning goals against all three of these teams. The 34-year-old finished the 2021-22 season with 44 goals and 15 assists to his name in 46 appearances across all competitions.