Ballon d'Or: Lionel Messi 'ranked' 4th in the running for individual prize

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The nominees for the current Ballon d'Or were named last week in what promises to be one of the most open races in many a year.

Considering the fact that the award was given last year, there are a number of stars who have put their hand up in the two years since the last ceremony.

Robert Lewandowski simply hasn't stopped scoring and is more than deserving of the title of the best in the world, with the man himself claiming that his achievements speak for themselves.

Chelsea's Jorginho has also had an electric year, and could be a dark horse in the title.

And then, of course, there are the regular lads, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who are well and truly in the running - as they always are.

So as the ceremony approaches, everyone is having their say on who they think should win and some are more controversial than others.

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Enter Giveaway

The Mirror have ranked the top 10 contenders for the title, whacking many people's favourite, Messi, way down in fourth.

10. Mohamed Salah 

Salah has had an incredible year and, in truth, can feel very hard done by to be as low as 10th.

He was the bright spot in what was a tumultuous season last time out, and has started the new season like a man possessed.

Why has Jadon Sancho been written off? (2 min watch)

9. Kylian Mbappe 

Another superstar who might feel hard done by to find himself as low as he does.

However, with PSG failing to win the Champions League and France dramatically crashing out of Euro 2020 in the round of 16, he probably can't be considered one of the favourites.

8. Erling Haaland

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Haaland is one of those bright stars that is more than likely to win a Ballon d'Or or two in the future but, even with his fantastic form, it might be too tall an ask in 2021.

7. Kevin De Bruyne 

The Manchester City star is always there and there about when it comes to these contests but never seems to do enough to be one of the frontrunners.

6. N'Golo Kante 

The peoples champion. If Kante were to win the golden ball you can imagine there would be no complaints from anyone.

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Sadly, as a defensive midfielder, his chances are slim.

5. Cristiano Ronaldo 

It feels odd for Ronaldo to not be in the top two but perhaps it is finally that time. That's not to say that he hasn't had a great year, but it probably hasn't been good enough to justify him being any higher.

4. Lionel Messi 

A controversial shout especially as Messi is among the favourites for many.

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Even with the upheaval of a change of club, the former Barcelona man has been sensational all year long. 

3. Jorginho 

Jorginho has certainly split opinion since he emerged as one of the front runners for the title. 

His achievements speak for themselves, however. Whatever your opinion is, you simply can't escape the fact that he played a crucial win in both a Champions League and European Championship triumph.

2. Karim Benzema 

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The French star has been breaking records for fun in the colours of Real Madrid and France. 

He leads Europe's top five leagues for goals and assists in 2021/22 with 40 goals and 16 assists since the start of last season.

1. Robert Lewandowski

Surely he has to be the winner?

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Lewandowski has been a monster for Bayern Munich, plundering goals at will and breaking records left, right and centre.

Had the 2020 award been given, Lewandowski would have had it sewn up but, even since then, he hasn't exactly shown down. 

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