Messi, Lewandowski, Salah, Ronaldo: Fans pick their Ballon d'Or winner in fascinating vote

  • Kobe Tong
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The Ballon d’Or is fast approaching and football fans are passionately debating who they think should be crowned the best male footballer of 2021.

Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Cristiano Ronaldo are all in contention for the iconic prize, but there’s a quiet understanding that Robert Lewandowski and Lionel Messi are now the top contenders.

Messi has been the bookmakers’ favourite for a few months now with Argentina’s Copa America triumph seemingly setting up the Paris Saint-Germain for a record-breaking seventh triumph.

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However, Lewandowski electrifying start to the season with 19 goals in just 25 games for Bayern Munich, combined with winning the European Golden Shoe, has made the call much more difficult.

We won’t know which of the two goalscoring machines – or, of course, an outside candidate – will take the prize until the gala on Monday, but that will only lead to more debate in the meantime.

And that’s where Transfermarkt have stepped in brilliantly because they decided to host their own Ballon d’Or where the winner would be decided by the fans, only the fans and nothing but the fans.

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Fan vote on the Ballon d’Or

Using Instagram’s poll feature, the revered data gurus created a knockout tree format where the top male performers across 2021 would go head-to-head to progress to their Ballon d’Or finale.

And now that all the votes have been collected and the winner has been revealed, let’s take a walk through the tournament tree to see who the fans think should win the Ballon d’Or this year.

Round of 32

Bruno Fernandes defeats Giorgio Chiellini

Karim Benzema defeats Nicolò Barella

Kevin De Bruyne defeats Cesar Azpilicueta

Gianluigi Donnarumma defeats Ruben Dias

Erling Braut Haaland defeats Phil Foden

Harry Kane defeats Jorginho

Mohamed Salah defeats Leonardo Bonucci

Robert Lewandowski defeats Riyad Mahrez

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Romelu Lukaku defeats Luka Modric

Kylian Mbappe defeats Lautaro Martinez

Pedri defeats Raheem Sterling

N’Golo Kante defeats Gerard Moreno

Neymar defeats Mason Mount

Luis Suarez defeats Simon Kjaer

Note: Messi and Ronaldo get a bye to the next round

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Round of 16

Lionel Messi defeats Bruno Fernandes

Karim Benzema defeats Kevin De Bruyne

Erling Braut Haaland defeats Gianluigi Donnarumma

Mohamed Salah defeats Harry Kane

Robert Lewandowski defeats Romelu Lukaku

Kylian Mbappe defeats Pedri

N’Golo Kante defeats Neymar

Cristiano Ronaldo defeats Luis Suarez

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Quarter-finals

Lionel Messi defeats Karim Benzema

Mohamed Salah defeats Erling Braut Haaland

Robert Lewandowski defeats Kylian Mbappe

Cristiano Ronaldo defeats N’Golo Kante

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Semi-finals

Mohamed Salah defeats Lionel Messi

Robert Lewandowski defeats Cristiano Ronaldo

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Final

Robert Lewandowski defeats Mohamed Salah

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Lewandowski takes the prize

Gosh. It really does feel like the tide is turning in Lewandowski’s favour, doesn’t it?

Not only did the Polish ace win the IFFHS player of the year and rise above Messi as the favourite for FIFA’s ‘The Best’ award, but now he’s the people’s choice to take home the Ballon d’Or.

It’s such a close run thing between Lewandowski and Messi that we’re not going to argue with the consensus, but there are definitely some strange results further down the tournament tree.

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For starters, there’s no chance that Salah should be finishing in second over Messi and although we don’t think Jorginho should be on the podium, getting knocked out in the first round is far too harsh.

But no matter who you think should win the Ballon d’Or and in what order the runners-up should be placed, there’s no denying that it’s one of the closest races that we’ve seen in years. Bring it on.

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