Ballon d'Or 2021: 30 nominees ranked by their chances of winning, including Messi & Ronaldo

Lionel Messi with the Copa America trophy

The 30 nominees for the 2021 Ballon d’Or have been announced by France Football.

The winner of the award will be crowned on November 29, with the ceremony taking place at the Théâtre du Châtelet de Paris.

But who will win the Ballon d’Or this year?

We’ve ranked the 30 nominees by their chances of lifting the trophy.

Every nominee has been placed into five categories, ranging from ‘Clear favourite’ to ‘Needs a miracle’.

View how we have ranked the 30 nominees for this year’s award below…



Needs a miracle

Raheem Sterling (Man City)

Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG)

Mason Mount (Chelsea)

Luis Suarez (Atletico Madrid)

Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea)

Simon Kjaer (AC Milan)

Gerard Moreno (Villarreal)

Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)

Cesar Azpilicueta in action for Chelsea

Harry Kane (Tottenham)

Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan)

Ruben Dias (Man City)

Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)

Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus)

Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan)

Riyad Mahrez (Man City)

Luka Modric (Real Madrid)

Luka Modric in action for Real Madrid

All of the above have enjoyed success in 2021 and deserve to be nominated for the award.

But they haven’t done enough to have a chance of winning.

Future winner, but not this year

Phil Foden (Man City)

Pedri (Barcelona)

Kylian Mbappe (PSG)

Erling Haaland (Dortmund)

Neymar (PSG)

Erling Haaland in action for Dortmund

Foden, Pedri, Mbappe and Haaland are all extraordinary players who are among the world’s best at a young age.

None of the quartet have a chance of winning it this year – but it wouldn’t be a surprise if they all pick up the trophy by the time they hang up their boots.

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Unlike the others, Neymar is coming to the end of his career.

He’ll turn 30 in February but, despite his time at the very top of the game running out, we’re still backing him to win the biggest individual prize in football.

Top 10

Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)

Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)

Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)

Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Manchester United

All the above have had a great 2021.

De Bruyne won the PFA Player of the Year award as Man City reclaimed the Premier League.

Kante was superhuman as Chelsea won the Champions League.

Benzema and Ronaldo are still playing at a ridiculous level in their 30s, while Salah and Fernandes have been brilliant for Liverpool and Manchester United respectively.

It will still be a shock if any of them lifted the trophy, though.

Has a great chance

Jorginho (Chelsea)

Robert Lewandowski (Bayern)

Jorginho in action for Italy

Now we’re talking. These two have a great chance of lifting the Ballon d’Or.

Jorginho was a focal point of a Chelsea side that won the Champions League. He was then influential as Italy won Euro 2020.

Lewandowski should have won the award in 2020 but it was suspended due to the pandemic.

He has been frightening in front of goal in 2021, scoring a combined 50 goals for club and country (up to October 8).

The Polish striker also helped Bayern to three trophies: Bundesliga, DFL-Supercup and FIFA Club World Cup.

There will be no complaints if either of the two won it.

Clear favourite

Lionel Messi (PSG)

Messi has had a slow start to life at PSG, but what he did for Barcelona and Argentina in 2021 was just incredible.

The legendary forward carried his side to a Copa del Rey title and a top three finish in La Liga. You only have to look at Barca’s struggles this season to understand how reliant on Messi they were.


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Messi then ended his trophy drought with Argentina by guiding them to the Copa America title.

In total, he’s made 46 appearances for club and country in 2021, scoring 37 times and recording 14 assists. He truly deserves to win a seventh Ballon d’Or trophy.

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