The award was cancelled in 2020 and the best players in the world are again asking for the individual honour they deserve.
Following the cancellation in 2020, the Ballon d’Or is returning, again looking at the best honour the game has to give in the world of football.
While it will not be awarded until December, the results will take more to determine who will and will not follow 2019 champion Lionel Messi in the coming weeks.
The odds of a new champion are great, with the European season plagued by unexpected title contestants and late international tournaments this summer.
20# SON HEUNG-MIN (TOTTENHAM) LAST WEEK.
Four goals, nine helps in 2021.
Having limped off in the early phases of Sunday’s north London derby, Son is still uncertain how much time Spurs hero is going to have to waste on his sides in the top 20.
He might be kissing his small odds of winning the Ballon d’Or this year for more than a couple of weeks.
19# LAUTARO MARTINEZ (INTER):
In 2021, 9 targets, 4 aids
While Romelu Lukaku is right to take up the titles of Inter’s Series A challenge, he was secretly bringing together a striking 2021 partner, Lautaro.
The foreign Argentinean, who is likely to lead Albiceleste at the late Copa America this season, won the penalty on Sunday before leaving for Turin to hold Nerazzurri in the Scudetto course.
18# OF NEYMAR (PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN)
Four objectives, one support in 2021. Won Champion’s Trophy.
Although Neymar is back in training, Mauricio Pochettino and his medical team are holding back. PSG personnel know that they need Brazil’s international fitness to reach a high for the final of the season by securing a quarter final place in the Champions League.
If it’s his comeback, expect the former man of Barcelona to rocket up those charts.
17# TH THOMAS MULLER (BAVARIA MUNICH)
In 2021: seven assists, four priorities. World Cup Won Club.
Another week, Muller also got two more supports, as Bavaria consolidated its hold on Werder Bremen’s title league.
Rumors of a possible diplomatic recall of the assailant begin to circulate. The 31-year-old will become a main character at Euro 2020 if this happens.
16# JADON SANCHO (DORTMUND IN BORUSSIA)
In 2021: 8 targets, 7 helps.
Even though Dortmund spent a week booking a quarter-final spot in the Champions League, narrowing the gap in the top four of the Bundesliga, he did so without the wounded Sancho, whom he looks poised to go on until early April.
The faster he recovers, the better are his chances of survival – and that of Dortmund.
15# HARRY KANE (TOTTENHAM)
Three assists in 2021: ten goals.
While Kane enjoyed a good week after scoring both goals in Spurs’ Europe League against Dinamo Zagreb, including a forgettable showing in the northern London Derby.
Jose Mourinho’s side will end at the secondary race of the continent with only one foot in the fourth finals.
14# KEVIN DE BRUYNE (CITY OF MANCHESTER)
Three targets, five aids in 2021.
Two goals in the midweek victory over Southampton have brought De Bruyne back and forth after he has injured him and Belgium has started to display signals that it increasingly returns to the gear.
The only way for the ex-Chelsee guy is in those rankings is to be the chief play maker for (possibly) the Champions League favourites.
13# MOHAMED SALAH (LIVERPOOL).
Nine milestones in 2021.
Though Liverpool stays in the Champions League, their players will run for individual honours and team silverware. It remains possible.
Salah seems to be the most controversial right now, as international Egypt has won the last 16 victories over RB Leipzig in both editions.
#12 LUIS SUAREZ (ATLETICO MADRID)
In 2021: Ten goals, one assist.
It is not unfair to suggest that Atletico Madrid are feeling the pressure at the top of La Liga, with Barcelona and Real Madrid both threatening to reel the Rojiblancos in.
Suarez did score the winner from the penalty spot against Athletic Club in midweek, but the Uruguay international needs to be at the top of his game if Diego Simeone’s side are to see this title push to a conclusion.
#11 KARIM BENZEMA (REAL MADRID)
Last week: 19th
In 2021: Eight goals.
In the last eight days, the goals of Karim Benzema have earned Real Madrid four points, with the striker’s return from injury coinciding with improved results for Zinedine Zidane’s side.
The Blancos’ performances still fail to excite, but while Benzema is playing up front, they have a chance of a memorable end to the campaign.
#10 JOAO CANCELO (MANCHESTER CITY)
Last week: 10th
In 2021: One goal, four assists, 10 clean sheets.
Man City needed another Cancelo intervention to see off Fulham on Saturday, with the full-back’s cross finding John Stones to break the deadlock at Craven Cottage.
While there are more creative players available to Pep Guardiola, there is no question that the Portugal international is playing a decisive role in 2020-21.
#9 BRUNO FERNANDES (MANCHESTER UNITED)
Last week: 9th
In 2021: Nine goals, five assists.
His exquisite assist for Amad Diallo against AC Milan aside, this was a relatively quiet week for Fernandes as United again struggled to create opportunities from open play.
With the Red Devils’ chances of silverware resting on two games across the next seven days, the Portugal international’s chances of winning individual honours likely rest on how the next week pans out.
#8 RUBEN DIAS (MANCHESTER CITY)
Last week: 8th
In 2021: One goal, 11 clean sheets.
Dias remains the rock at the heart of City’s defence, with Pep Guardiola generally now rotating between John Stones and Aymeric Laporte alongside the Portugal international.
City’s drive towards to the Premier League title is built on their back line, and the ex-Benfica man is now the unquestioned leader of that unit.
#7 CRISTIANO RONALDO (JUVENTUS)
Last week: 4th
In 2021: 14 goals, three assists. Won Supercoppa Italiana.
He may have scored a perfect hat-trick on Sunday in Serie A to silence those who believed Ronaldo was finished at the top level, there is no doubt that Juventus’ early exit from the Champions League will hit the forward’s Ballon d’Or chances hard.
Aside from netting a hat-trick every week between now and the end of the season, Ronaldo has two routes left to individual glory: help Juve haul in Inter to win the Scudetto, or defend the European Championship with Portugal.
Neither outcome is nailed on, and as such he tumbles down the rankings… for now.
#6 ROMELU LUKAKU (INTER)
Last week: 7th
In 2021: 10 goals, four assists.
Two more wins for Inter over the past seven days have moved them nine points clear at the top of Serie A, and though Lukaku only provided a solitary goal from the penalty spot across the pair of games, he continues to be the outstanding performer in Italy’s top flight.
A lack of European football will only see him climb so high in these rankings ahead of Euro 2020, but he can certainly get himself in position over the coming weeks to threaten the leaders this summer.
#5 ILKAY GUNDOGAN (MANCHESTER CITY)
Last week: 5th
In 2021: 10 goals, four assists.
With Gundogan rested for Saturday’s win over Fulham, he was only able to contribute a solitary goal to City’s cause over the past week, tapping home from close range against Southampton.
He remains, however, the favourite to be named the Premier League’s Player of the Year – a deserved accolade should the Germany international triumph.
#4 ERLING HAALAND (BORUSSIA DORTMUND)
Last week: 6th
In 2021: 14 goals, five assists.
It was a Champions League week where Dortmund were in action, so of course Haaland was bang in form, scoring twice against Sevilla to send the Bundesliga outfit into the quarter-finals.
With no Euro 2020 this summer, this might be as high up the rankings that the young Norway international will be able to reach, though putting any kind of ceiling on his ability will likely be made to look foolish if the last 18 months are anything to go by.
#3 LIONEL MESSI (BARCELONA)
Last week: 3rd
In 2021: 15 goals, six assists.
He may have missed a penalty on the night when Barcelona went crashing out of the Champions League, but all anyone will remember from the last-16 second leg against PSG is Messi’s stunning long-range strike, and as such his Ballon d’Or hopes remain intact.
Attentions now turn to domestic matters for the Blaugrana, and with Atletico faltering at the top of La Liga, a league and cup double suddenly does not seem too far-fetched for Ronald Koeman’s side.
#2 Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
Last week: 2nd
In 2021: 18 goals, three assists. Won Club World Cup.
Lewandowski strengthened his grip on the European Golden Shoe award with yet another goal in Bayern’s win over Werder Bremen on Saturday, and he is certainly the most feared goalscorer on the continent right now.
A number of fans believe the Poland international will yet again be deserving of the Ballon d’Or in 2021 after being denied last year, but it is worth remembering there are still eight months until the prize will be handed out, and plenty can still change.
#1 KYLIAN MBAPPE (PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN)
Last week: 1st In 2021: 12 goals, two assists. Won trophee des champions.
Though it was not a vintage week from Mbappe, he still scored as PSG reached the Champions League quarter-finals by knocking out the once-mighty Barcelona.
His first-leg hat-trick, however, remains the main reason for him currently sitting at #1. He can certainly be caught, but right now there is no player with as much credit in the bank combined with potential for future success as Mbappe in this year’s race.