Lionel Messi is one of the 30 candidates to win the Ballon d’Or to the best player in the world, according to the list released by the magazine France Football, that also included Lautaro Martínez on that payroll. For the crack of Paris Saint Germain is the fifteenth nomination for an award he has already won six times.
Through its social networks, the French magazine spread the names of the candidates, who on this occasion do not have favorites as clear as in previous seasons. Figures such as Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, subscribers to this type of awards, did not have such outstanding seasons in their clubs, where they did not even win their respective Leagues or complete important campaigns in the Champions League, although The Argentine aspires to once again win the trophy for having led the National Team to the Copa América in Brazil.
Messi celebrated this trophy six times and it is the current winner with the 2019 edition, since last year the awards gala was canceled due to the pandemic. The Argentine star won the award four times in a row between 2009 and 2012, repeated in 2015 and completed his collection in 2019. His great rival is Cristiano Ronaldo, who celebrated five times (2008, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017). Single Croatian Luka Modric, with his award in 2018, broke the hegemony of Messi and CR7, since 2008.
Among those chosen by the vote of 180 journalists from around the world and strong candidates for the award are the Italian Jorginho and the Polish Robert Lewandowski. The Chelsea midfielder maintains his favoritism as he lifted two of the most important trophies of the season, as he won the Champions League with the Blues and then celebrated the European Championship with Italy. Of course, he is more of a role footballer than a star like Messi or Cristiano.
Meanwhile, Lewandowski is Europe’s top scorer of the year and led Bayern Munich to a new Bundesliga title. The premature elimination in the Champions League, where the 2020 champion remained in the quarterfinals, takes away a bit of chances, although his goals always put him among the candidates. Other big and aspiring names include the French Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kanté and Kylian Mbappé; Belgians Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku; the Brazilian Neymar and the Norwegian Erin Haaland.
For Lautaro Martínez, being among the 30 best footballers in the world is already great news. At 24 years old, The former Racing player achieved his first title in Italy in 2021, with the conquest of Serie A by Inter, and won his first trophy with the National Team in Brazil. For the Bahia striker it is the first appearance among the candidates.
With two nominees, Argentina is one of the 15 countries represented among the 30 favorites. Italy, European champion and with Gianluigi Donnarumma, Nicolo Barella, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini and Jorginho, leads the list with five candidates, while England has four (Mason Mount, Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden). France, with Kanté, Benzema and Mbappé; Portugal, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruben Dias and Bruno Fernandes; and Spain, with Pedri, Azpilicueta and Gerard Moreno, continue with three players each. A curious fact is that Brazil, comfortable leader of the South American Qualifiers with nine wins in nine games and runner-up in America, has only Neymar among the candidates.
1. Lionel Messi (ARG / Paris-SG)
2. Lautaro Martínez (ARG / Inter)
3. Kevin De Bruyne (BEL / Manchester City)
4. Neymar (BRA / Paris-SG)
5. Robert Lewandowski (POL / Bayern Munich)
6. Jorginho (ITA / Chelsea)
7. Mohamed Salah (EGI / Liverpool)
8. César Azpilicueta (ESP / Chelsea)
9. Romelu Lukaku (BEL / Chelsea)
10. Rúben Dias (POR / Manchester City)
11. Simon Kjaer (DIN / Milan)
12. Bruno Fernandes (POR / Manchester United)
13. Pedri (ESP / Barcelona)
14. Luka Modric (CRO / Real Madrid)
15. Giorgio Chiellini (ITA / Juventus)
16. Harry Kane (ING / Tottenham)
17. Gianluigi Donnarumma (ITA / Paris-SG)
18. Karim Benzema (FRA / Real Madrid)
19. Raheem Sterling (ING / Manchester City)
20. Nicolo Barella (ITA / Inter)
21. Riyad Mahrez (ALG / Manchester City)
22. N’Golo Kanté (FRA / Chelsea)
23. Erling Haaland (NOR / Borussia Dortmund)
24. Leonardo Bonucci (ITA / Juventus)
25. Mason Mount (ING / Chelsea)
26. Cristiano Ronaldo (POR / Manchester United).
27. Gerard Moreno (ESP / Villarreal)
28. Phil Foden (ING / Manchester City).
29. Kylian Mbappé (FRA / Paris-SG).
30. Luis Suárez (URU / Atlético Madrid).