The Ballon d’Or is back and the world’s best players are making their cases to claim the prize. The award was cancelled in 2020 but will be handed out again in December. Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Costa are among those hoping to win the award. The 2019 winner will be announced on Monday night at a ceremony at the Maracana.
#1 N’GOLO KANTE (CHELSEA)
Last time: 1st
In 2021: One assists. Won Champions League.
The gap between Kante and the rest of the Ballon d’Or contenders has only widened since the start of Euro 2020, and though an early exit for France would see the race close up once more, right now it is difficult to see past the diminutive Chelsea midfielder claiming the biggest individual prize of them all.
#2 KYLIAN MBAPPE (PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN)
Last time: 2nd
In 2021: 29 goals, six assists. Won Coupe de France & Trophee des Champions.
Three games in and still no goals for Mbappe at Euro 2020 means that he needs a big knockout stages – starting with Monday’s clash against Switzerland – to move himself back to the front of the queue for this year’s Ballon d’Or.
#3 ROMELU LUKAKU (INTER)
Last time: 5th
In 2021: 21 goals, seven assists. Won Serie A.
With De Bruyne potentially missing, the weight of leading Belgium’s ‘Golden Generation’ to a first title would rest even harder on Lukaku’s shoulders, but he appears capable of taking on the task.
He was unplayable at moments against Portugal and might still win the Golden Boot at Euro 2020 if Roberto Martinez’s team makes it to the final.
#4 ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI (BAYERN MUNICH)
Last time: 4th
In 2021: 34 goals, four assists. Won Bundesliga & Club World Cup.
Robert Lewandowski of Poland does not win the Golden Boot award.
Poland was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the European Championship in Brazil. To win the award, he will most likely need a surprise winner.
#5 LIONEL MESSI (BARCELONA)
Last time: 6th
In 2021: 30 goals, 10 assists. Won Copa del Rey.
Argentina’s Lionel Messi has helped his country to top their group at the Copa America. That means they will likely avoid Brazil in the last of the tournament, meaning they could face Brazil in a potential final. The Barcelona forward is hoping to pick up some momentum as his quest for a first international trophy goes on.
#6 KEVIN DE BRUYNE (MANCHESTER CITY)
Last time: 3rd
In 2021: 10 goals, 10 assists. Won Premier League & Carabao Cup.
Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne has been ruled out of the rest of the World Cup with a knee injury. If it does rule him out, then his Ballon d’Or hopes may go with it. De Bruyne was injured in Belgium’s win over Portugal in their opening game of the tournament.
#7 CRISTIANO RONALDO (JUVENTUS)
Last time: 7th
In 2021: 27 goals, four assists. Won Coppa Italia & Supercoppa Italiana.
Cristiano Ronaldo missed out on the chance to break the all-time international goalscoring record at Euro 2020 after Portugal’s early exit from the tournament. The Real Madrid forward will still be in contention for the Ballon d’Or but any hopes he had of forcing his way into the race have probably gone.
#8 KARIM BENZEMA (REAL MADRID)
Last time: 9th
In 2021: 20 goals, five assists.
France striker Karim Benzema scored twice as they beat Portugal – to reach the semi-finals of the Euro. The Real Madrid man is now assured of leading the line for Les Bleus as they aim to reach a third successive major final.
#9 ERLING HAALAND (BORUSSIA DORTMUND)
Last time: 11th
In 2021: 25 goals, nine assists. Won DFB-Pokal.
Norway midfielder Kristoffer Haaland is one of the favourites to win the Ballon d’Or at Euro. He has been named in the top 10 for the Bundesliga and Champions League after a superb season with Borussia Monchengladbach.
#10 RUBEN DIAS (MANCHESTER CITY)
Last time: 8th
In 2021: One goal, 19 clean sheets. Won Premier League & Carabao Cup.
Portugal centre-back Dias has not looked the same player for Euro 2020 as he did during his debut season at Manchester City. He is expected to be part of the squad for the 2018 World Cup in Brazil, which kicks off on Friday.