The Ballon d’Or has made its long-awaited return for 2021.
France Football’s prestigious prize is considered by many supporters to be the most important individual accolade in the beautiful game and it’s great to see it back after a one-year absence.
The COVID-19 pandemic sadly meant that the Ballon d’Or was put on ice in 2020, which surely denied what would have been an inevitable victory for Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski.
2021 Ballon d’Or
However, the prolific Pole can rest assured that he will once again be in the running as he was named amongst 30 nominees for the main male prize during an announcement on October 8.
It was revealed last month that the 2021 ceremony would be taking place at the Théâtre du Châtelet de Paris on November 29, which gives fans more than a month to mull over the selections.
Newcastle Takeover Complete (Football Terrace)
The 30 male nominees
The French publication unveiled the 30 male players alongside the candidates to win the Women’s Ballon d’Or as well as the Yashine Trophy and Kopa Trophy.
You can check out the full list of male nominees for the 2021 Ballon d’Or trophy down below:
Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan)
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus)
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)
Ruben Dias (Manchester City)
Gianluigi Donnarumma (Paris Saint-Germain)
Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
Phil Foden (Manchester City)
Erling Braut Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
Simon Kjaer (AC Milan)
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea)
Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)
Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan)
Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)
Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain)
Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
Gerard Moreno (Villarreal)
Mason Mount (Chelsea)
Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain)
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
Luis Suarez (Atletico Madrid)
Who will take home the trophy?
Messi is currently the favourite with the bookmakers to win the Ballon d’Or for the seventh time in his career, which would move him even further clear of Ronaldo’s tally of five plaques.
Nevertheless, the Paris Saint-Germain star will face fierce competition from Lewandowski, who boasts a stunning record of 13 goals in just 10 games this season on the back of a superb 2020/21.
And lest we forget that Jorginho of Chelsea and Italy boasts arguably the most impressive trophy cabinet of anyone in the field having won the Champions League and European Championships.
The likes of Ronaldo, Kevin De Bruyne and N’Golo Kante might fancy themselves as long shots for the title, but everything points towards it being a battle between the aforementioned trio.
So, reopen the stats books and cast your mind back to the last year of football and get deciding who you think should be crowned the world’s best player as the Ballon d’Or makes a triumphant return.