France Football have announced the 30-man shortlist, which includes Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, for the 2021 edition of the prestigious Ballon d'Or award. The most sought-after individual prize in football will be awarded for both men's and women's football categories on November 29 at Theatre du Chatelet in Paris.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have enjoyed a duopoly in the race for the men's Ballon d'Or, winning 11 of the last 12 editions. Notably, Croatia and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric is the only player apart from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to win the Ballon d'Or since 2008.
Despite their glaring reputation when it comes to winning the award, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are expected to face stern competition for the Ballon d'Or this time around. Italy and Chelsea midfielder Jorginho is widely tipped as a leading candidate for the award after his remarkable summer with club and country. The midfielder won the Champions League before helping Italy triumph at Euro 2020.
In addition to Jorginho, the likes of Robert Lewandowski and N'Golo Kante are the other candidates on the Ballon d'Or shortlist with a chance of making the podium. Like Jorginho, Kante was instrumental in guiding Chelsea to the Champions League trophy, becoming the first player to be named player of the match in both the semi-final legs and final.
Meanwhile, Lewandowski is fresh off the back of a record-breaking 2020-21 Bundesliga campaign, where he netted 41 goals in just 29 appearances for Bayern Munich. The Poland international was the leading candidate for the Ballon d'Or award in 2020, but unfortunately the event was canceled due to the pandemic.
Other notable names on the list include Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland, Mohamed Salah, Kevin De Bruyne and Karim Benzema.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have the highest number of Ballon d'Or podium finishes
Should Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo finish on the podium in the race for the 2021 Ballon d'Or, it will be their 13th appearance in the top-three for the award. Second-best in terms of Ballon d'Or podium appearances is Michel Platini, who finished inside the top-three on five separate occasions.
This shows how dominant Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been in the race for the Ballon d'Or over the years. Despite not getting any younger by the day, the talismanic forwards have maintained their excellent levels of performance for club and country.
As things stand, Lionel Messi has won a record six Ballon d'Or awards compared to Cristiano Ronaldo's five. Come November 29, the Argentine could further extend his dominance in the context of the prestigious award by adding another 'golden ball' to his glittering cabinet.