RONALDO SLIPS AGAIN IN THE 2021 BALLON D’OR POWER RANKINGS, AS A NEW CHAMPION APPEARS.
The awarding of the trophy was postponed until 2020, and the world’s top players are once again vying for the prestigious individual honour.
After being postponed until 2020, the Ballon d’Or is back, with the best and brightest in football vying for the game’s most individual honour.
Though the award will not be awarded until December, results in the coming weeks will decide who will and will not be in consideration to replace Lionel Messi, the 2019 winner.
With unexpected title challengers dominating the European season and foreign tournaments postponed until this summer, the odds of a new champion are high.
#20 Harry Kane (Tottenham)
Last week: 15th
In 2021: 11 goals, three assists.
Tottenham was one of the favourites to win the Europa League last week, but after a humiliating loss to Dinamo Zagreb on Friday morning, they were eliminated.
Kane always has a shot to win silverware at club and international level this season, but being out of Europe in the final months of the season would undoubtedly damage his prospects of winning individual awards.
#19 Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain)
Last week: 15th
In 2021: Four goals, one assist. Won Trophee des Champions.
Neymar made his comeback in PSG’s victory over Lyon on Sunday evening, but he now has to play catch-up while planning the demise of last year’s Champions League winners Bayern Munich.
Expect the Brazil international to rise into the top 10 if he succeeds.
#18 N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
Last week: NEW ENTRY
In 2021: Two assists
This list feels incomplete without any Chelsea presence after knocking out Atletico Madrid in the last 16 and winning a favourable draw for the remainder of the Champions League.
Kante was chosen over a number of other players because a) he played a vital role in the high-profile victory over Atletico Madrid, and b) he will be a key figure for the Euro 2020 favourites this summer.
#17 Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)
Last week: 16th
In 2021: Eight goals, seven assists.
The recently crowned Bundesliga Player of the Month for February is currently on the sidelines suffering from injury, and he now knows he’ll be facing a reunion with Manchester City when he returns.
As a result, Sancho’s odds of progressing further in the Champions League seem poor, and Dortmund faces an uphill struggle to qualify for next season’s competition after losing more points in the Bundesliga over the weekend.
#16 Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)
Last week: 17th
In 2021: Four goals, eight assists. Won Club World Cup.
Muller picked up another assist in Bayern’s latest Bundesliga victory, and the demands for him to be recalled by Germany for the Euros this summer are becoming louder.
Bayern faces a difficult road to the Champions League final, but in Muller’s current form, they have a playmaker capable of making a difference at the highest level.
#15 Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
Last week: NEW ENTRY
In 2021: Four assists
Luka Modric’s raw goal involvement figures do not tell the whole tale of how impressive he has been this season for Real Madrid.
Modric’s comeback seems to be at its end, with the Croatian international providing assists in three of Madrid’s last four games.
#14 Luis Suarez (Atletico Madrid)
Last week: 12th
In 2021: 11 goals, one assist.
Suarez may have scored his 500th goal of his illustrious career this week to keep Atletico Madrid in charge of the Liga title chase, but his season will be remembered most for his anonymous performance at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
Suarez’s substitution before the hour mark with Atleti needing two goals at Stamford Bridge told its own tale, and now just a league title will be enough to put him in line for individual awards in 2021.
#13 Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Last week: 13th
In 2021: Nine goals.
Is Liverpool back on track? No, not yet. The Reds, however, seem capable of launching a late-season challenge for a top-four finish after their win over Wolves on Monday.
Salah will also have an opportunity to make his case in front of the highest potential crowd before the season is over, thanks to Liverpool’s Champions League draw, which should have been a lot more complicated.
#12 Joao Cancelo (Manchester City)
Last week: 10th
In 2021: One goal, four assists, 11 clean sheets.
Cancelo is down, but only because players with positions that encourage them to catch more attention than the full-back have surpassed him.
City is still in contention for the quadruple, and Cancelo has undoubtedly played a key role in that.
#11 Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
Last week: 9th
In 2021: Nine goals, five assists.
Manchester United has lost two cup games in the last seven days, with Sunday’s FA Cup defeat to Leicester City proving especially difficult for Red Devils fans.
In the meantime, Fernandes was forced to play second fiddle to Paul Pogba in the midweek win in Milan, and he will be hoping for a bigger role in the Europa League’s later stages.
#10 Ruben Dias (Manchester City)
Last week: 8th
In 2021: One goal, 13 clean sheets.
Dias, like his foreign teammate Cancelo, is just falling because’sexier’ players have started making pushes in recent weeks.
Over the course of the week, the former Benfica defender helped hold two more clean sheets, and he is the clear favourite among defenders to win the Ballon d’Or this year.
#9 Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Last week: 11th
In 2021: 11 goals, one assist
Benzema has six goals and an assist in four games since returning from injury, and he has scored Madrid’s first goal on each occasion.
It is almost entirely due to the French striker that the Blancos stay in the Liga title race and have a chance of reaching the Champions League final, and there are few people in Europe who can pretend to be as irreplaceable as Benzema right now.
#8 Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)
Last week: 7th
In 2021: 14 goals, three assists. Won Supercoppa Italiana
Due to Inter’s absence, this was supposed to be the week in which Juventus and Ronaldo increased the burden on the Serie A leaders by playing their game in hand against Benevento, who were in poor shape.
Instead, the Bianconeri were defeated by the recently promoted side at home, with their Portuguese talisman going scoreless. With one of the game’s best ever forwards, it’s been a forgettable fortnight.
#7 Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
Last week: 14th
In 2021: Five goals, five assists.
De Bruyne came off the bench against Everton on Saturday to put up another match-winning performance after his long-range screamer put every hope Borussia Monchengladbach had of turning their Champions League clash with Manchester City to rest.
The Belgian international is getting ready for the run-in. He seems to be the most likely of the chasing park to break into true contention in the coming months.
#6 Romelu Lukaku (Inter)
Last week: 6th
In 2021: 10 goals, four assists.
Lukaku was forced to miss the final week of the season due to a Covid-19 outbreak at Inter, but with Juventus struggling, Inter’s hold on the Serie A title fight became even stronger.
#5 Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
Last week: 4th
In 2021: 16 goals, five assists.
Even though he scored twice in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Koln, Haaland was visibly upset at the end of the game.
Dortmund’s hopes of finishing in the top four are fading, and with the hardest draw imaginable in the Champions League awaiting them, a return to the tournament next year seems impossible.
#4 Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City)
Last week: 5th
In 2021: 12 goals, four assists.
Two tournaments, two goals, and maybe the most unlikely candidate for this year’s Ballon d’Or continues to build a strong case for the judges to consider.
Between now and August, the Germany international has a chance to win five medals. Is he going to be the overwhelming favourite if he does?
#3 Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Last week: 3rd
In 2021: 19 goals, eight assists.
Messi has only scored four goals and provided two assists in the last seven days as Barcelona maintained the heat on Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga.
Messi does not have the Champions League to fall back on in his pursuit of a seventh Ballon d’Or, but his all-around domestic performances are unrivalled right now.
#2 Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)
Last week: 1st
In 2021: 16 goals, two assists. Won Trophee des Champions.
How does a player score four goals to propel his side to the top of Ligue 1 and the next round of the Coupe de France while still slipping a place in the rankings?
That’s how they get the reigning champions in the next round of the Champions League.
Sorry Kylian, but you need to beat Bayern Munich before we can worry of you retaking the lead…
#1 Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
Last week: 2nd
In 2021: 22 goals, three assists. Won Club World Cup.
With summer tournaments on the horizon, Lewandowski will face a harder challenge than some would expect to win the award he should have won in 2020, but his record speaks for itself right now.
To reach the Champions League final, Bayern will almost certainly have to defeat PSG and Man City. It’s a difficult road ahead, but they have Europe’s most in-form striker in Lewandowski to rely on.