The Ballon d'Or is undeniably the most prestigious individual honor in football.
Every year, the best performing star is recognized for his accomplishments with club and country by being awarded the coveted Ballon d'Or.
Only a handful of players have had the distinction of lifting the prize and the race for its 2021 edition is being hotly contested too.
FIFA recently released a 30-man Ballon d'Or shortlist of the best players, among whom one will be declared winner next month at the annual ceremony in Paris.
The favorites have already been drawn out, with unusual suspects Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski all featuring and considered to be leading the race for Ballon d'Or 2021.
But given the prize is often handed out to prolific forwards who score a ton of goals, we'll look at the
Top five forwards who have bagged a Ballon d'Or nomination
Note: This list considers not only player quality but also how well the players have performed in the calendar year
#5 Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain/France)
Aside from a poor UEFA Euro 2020 campaign in which he failed to score a single goal and missed a crucial, tournament-ending penalty, Kylian Mbappe has had a good year. But has it been good enough to win the Ballon d'Or?
He starred for PSG in the league last season, despite the Parisians finishing second and came up big during UEFA Champions League nights.
The 22-year-old has started the new season in a similar vein and has now redeemed himself on the international stage too by playing an influential role in France's UEFA Nations League title.
It burnished Mbappe's prolific credentials once more and displayed what a world-class talent he is.
But despite all his accomplishments and titles, the Frenchman's chances of winning the Ballon d'Or remain slim for now.
#4 Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus/Manchester United/Portugal)
It hasn't been the most stellar year for Cristiano Ronaldo by any account. But the fact that he's still among the leading figures in the race for Ballon d’Or says everything you need to know about him.
Even as Juventus endured their worst league campaign in over a decade, the Portuguese ace starred for them by consistently bagging goals and stepping up in crucial moments.
Now, he's made a flying start to life at Manchester United on his fairytale return to the club with which he won his very first Ballon d'Or.
On the international front, Ronaldo has had another excellent year. He's scored 13 times in 12 games whilst also surpassing Ali Daei's long-standing record of 109 international goals to become the greatest marksman in history in the process.
His exploits included a Golden Boot-winning five goals at Euro 2020 as the 36-year-old helped Seleccao negotiate with the group of death and progress into the knockout stages.
More recently, he struck a record 10th international hat-trick against Luxembourg in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, extending his all-time international goal tally to 115 goals.
Cristiano Ronaldo is no stranger to the Ballon d'Or, having won five of them thus far in his career. Only time will tell if he can win his sixth Ballon d'Or and equal his rival, Lionel Messi.