Top 8 Early Contenders for the 2021 Ballon D’or

The Ballon D’or is an elite award for professional football players. We already have some early favorites for the 2021 edition. The 2020-21 season is over in Europe’s major leagues. We already know the high performers.

The EUROs and Copa America Championship will be coming up this summer. These tournaments will give players another opportunity to ply their trade. The top eight players that could win the award are:

  • N’Golo Kante
  • Kylian Mbappe
  • Robert Lewandowski
  • Kevin De Bruyne
  • Lionel Messi
  • Ruben Dias
  • Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Romelu Lukaku

N’Golo Kante

Nobody can beat N’Golo Kante this year. The midfielder has been outstanding throughout the season. No injuries or defeat seem to bother him. He was very instrumental in Chelsea’s championship triumph.
The France international was the man of the match in the Champions League Final and both semifinal legs. Kante won the World Cup with France in 2018. The defensive midfielder has another chance to get a European Championship winners’ medal to this trophy cabinet.

We have not seen many defenders or midfielders win the Ballon d’Or in the past. Most of them hardly even enter the top 10. The last defensive player to win the award was Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.

The Italian international helped his country win the World cup that year. Can Kante be an exception in this year’s edition? We will know at the end of the year.

Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe has been outstanding this year. Many people have predicted that he will win the Ballon D’or soon. It seems that this point is closer than we think. The 22-year-old has eased some pressure off his head by winning the 2018 World Cup.

He recorded 28 goals and four assists in the 2020-21 Ligue 1 season. The youngster also won the Trophee des Champions et Coupe de France. The problem is that winning these trophies doesn’t gain much attention.

If he can score goals and deliver the EURO 2020 for France, he will be a firm contender for football’s grand prize. The champions league is a core tournament that makes players contenders for the Ballon d’Or. The forward did that by giving a superb show, especially against Bayern Munich and Barcelona.

Robert Lewandowski

Lewandowski was robbed of the Ballon D’or in 2020. He has made his presence prominent in 2021. The German forward is the hottest number nine on the planet at the moment. The 32-year-old scored more than 20 goals in 20 games. He missed a little action between March and April due to an injury.

He was also Bundesliga’s top scorer with a record of 41 goals and six assists. Poland is underdogs for the EURO 2020. If Poland can manage to win the championship this summer, Lewandowski may have the Ballon D’or in his trophy cabinet.

Kevin De Bruyne

De Bruyne was one of Manchester City’s best players of the season. He performed at the top of his game to help the Citizens win the EPL trophy and the Carabao Cup.

He scored five goals and completed more than ten assists in the Premier League. If only Man City won the Champions League final against Chelsea, he will be a firm favorite for the Ballon d’Or. He also fractured his nose and eye socket during the final. Let’s hope that he recovers before the EURO 2020.

Belgium has one of the best squads in the world. If KDB can get fit in time and win the EURO with Belgium, he could win the Ballon d’Or.

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Lionel Messi

It seems Lionel Messi will be a Ballon D’or contender till the minute he hangs his boots. He is one of the greatest players to ever step on a football pitch. Barcelona’s season was not so impressive by their standards.

Several rumors are flying around that he will leave the club soon. Despite this, Messi had a stellar season. He won the Copa Del Rey trophy and recorded 36 goals in all competitions. The little man had a part in almost every Barcelona goal this season.

One downside is that Barcelona’s star man had a poor 2020-21 champions league season. He has another chance this summer if he can win his first international trophy with Argentina. If this happens, he will have his seventh Ballon D’or.

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Ruben Dias

Ruben Dias is arguably Manchester City’s best player of the season. After his big-money move for Benfica, his performance has helped Man City to secure the Premier League and Carabao Cup. He also won the Premier League Player of the Season award.

Dias delivered match-winning performances for the Citizens in the Champions League. It is quite unfortunate that he didn’t end the season with a champion’s league medal. If he can guide Portugal to two consecutive European Championship titles, he can surprisingly clinch the Ballon d’Or.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo is a player that can only be rivaled by Lionel Messi. Despite being 36 years old, he has shown no signs of slowing down. The Juventus forward is still one of the best players on the globe. He finished as Serie A’s top scorer and won The Supercopa Italiana and the Coppa Italia.

Juventus finished four in the league, nearly missing out on a champion’s league ticket. His performance in the 2020-21 champions league was below par. If he can win the European Championship again, he should have a chance of grabbing football’s grand prize for the sixth time.

Portugal’s squad is more complete and more versatile than it was five years ago. The likes of Joao Felix, Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, and others give Portugal a better chance.

Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku was instrumental in Inter Milan’s first Serie A trophy win since 2010. He also won Serie A’s most valuable player of the year award. Only Cristiano Ronaldo had more goals than the Belgium international in the Serie A.

If he can produce a phenomenal performance for Belgium this summer, he could have a chance on the grand podium at the end of the year.

Conclusion

The eight players are the hottest contenders for the 2021 Ballon D’or Award. All of them have performed well for their clubs. We might be in for a surprise this year. Someone like Griezmann or Neymar could come from behind to win.

Messi or Ronaldo could even steal the award as they have always done over the last decade. The EURO championship and Copa America have a big say in determining this year’s Ballon D’or winner. Until then, we can only observe.

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