The most prestigious trophy a footballer can possibly win in his lifetime, the Ballon d’Or has been the measure of personal glory for a long time. The European football season has resumed after the climax of high-octane continental tournaments – the Copa America and the Euro Championship. With its resumption, plethora of shock transfers have arrived much to the surprise of the footballing fraternity.
Awarded by France Football magazine to the best performing player of the past season, the accolade is handed over at the end of the year and this year the names being revealed for the award would surprise very few. None of the mentioned names are in particular order of likeliness to win it.
Lionel Messi – Argentina & Paris Saint-Germain
Messi enjoyed a splendid 2020/21 season as he racked up a vintage Copa America tournament by scoring 4 goals and making 5 assists in his first ever major international competition victory. He also won the Copa del Rey title with Barcelona in his last season, where he scored 38 goals and provided 14 assists – astonishingly involving himself directly in 52 goals. Messi also grabbed the Pichichi trophy for his 30-goal tally in La Liga, unsurprisingly. The Argentine sensation is one of the key players touted for the esteemed award as he will be looking to win it for a historic seventh time, two more than Cristiano Ronaldo’s five wins.
Jorginho – Italy & Chelsea
Italian midfield general Jorginho played out a life-changing season in 2020/21 as he won all there is on both the club and national stage, except for the FA Cup and Premier League title. The former Napoli man led Chelsea to triumph over Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League final and similarly played a key role in the Azzurri’s EURO 2020 victory at Wembley – leading to him being named as the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year. The versatility displayed by the Italian central midfielder was immense last season, as he donned various roles in midfield and dictated matches in accordance with his rhythm.
N’Golo Kante – France & Chelsea
Kante’s tireless performances for Chelsea last season was extremely instrumental for the club to gain a stronghold in midfield enroute their second-ever Champions League title, as he partnered with Jorginho and ran riot all over the pitch. His unreal energetic runs throughout 90 minutes managed to woo fans, including those of the opposition team. Although he did not enjoy the best of tournaments with France at EURO 2020, he played a pivotal role in the national team helping maintain their structure.
Robert Lewandowski – Poland & Bayern Munich
If there is one player who deserves the award head over heels for his performances last season and the season before that, it has to be Robert Lewandowski. He unfortunately missed out on the award as the rightful winner in 2020 (when he scored 55 goals in 47 caps) due to the award being scrapped because of the pandemic. The Polish marksman was relentless on his way to breaking the late Gerd Muller’s one-season 40-goal record in 2020/21. He has etched himself as one of the greatest strikers to play the game, thanks to his never-ending hunger to score goals.
Kevin De Bruyne – Belgium & Manchester City
As one of the most influential players this generation, De Bruyne’s presence cannot be understated. The Belgian might have missed out on the European Championship title due to his team’s sub-par performances, but his prowess in midfield remained constant and without a hitch throughout the 2020/21 season as he led Manchester City to the Premier League title. The 30-year-old was directly involved in 28 goals which is not an easy feat considering the high level of football in England.
Cristiano Ronaldo – Portugal & Juventus
Ofcourse, no list is complete without Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese captain made history with Juventus last season as he won the Capocannoniere award – thus summing up his extraordinary career feat of becoming the first player in history to finish as top scorer in the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A. Bundesliga is the only league missing from his list of records. Although his side were knocked out by De Bruyne’s Belgium, Ronaldo was instrumental as always in their run to the Round-of-16 stages at EURO 2020.
According to statistics provided by betting operators, Lionel Messi is the outright odds-on favourite to pip other contenders such as Jorginho and Cristiano Ronaldo to the Ballon d’Or trophy – his seventh to-be. In order to access tips and guidance regarding the subject of online gaming and betting, one can equip knowledge by going through informative outlets such as asiabet.org, where one can also access resources on online casinos to play at. These sites cater to specific geographic locations and players from the world over can benefit from rewards and bonuses by signing up for the first time. Some of them include VIP programs, loyalty points, cashbacks and accumulator schemes.
The official 30-man shortlist for the award will be published in October, before the winner is revealed either in December or early January. A close duel is likely to be fought out between Argentine magician Messi and Italian maestro Jorginho for the coveted trophy.