Lionel Messi will look to extend his record of six Ballon d’Or titles when the annual football award returns.
The 2020 award ceremony was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic but with football’s return to action, the 2021 edition will see the voting commence.
Here are the leading contenders in the 2021 Ballon d’Or odds.
LIONEL MESSI @ 2/5
The Barcelona man leads the market after finally achieving international glory with Argentina. After losing the 2014 World Cup final and several near-misses in recent years, Argentina won the 2021 Copa America captained by Messi who scored four goals. This followed another superb season for Barcelona where he scored 30 times in 35 league appearances and he is now the clear favourite to clinch a record-extending seventh Ballon d’Or.
ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI @ 6/1
The Poland international was the biggest casualty of the 2020 cancellation after guiding Bayern Munich to a European and domestic treble. Bayern won the Bundesliga, DFB Pokal and Champions League in a coronavirus-hit campaign, which yielded 34 league goals. The striker broke the Bundesliga record this time around for the most goals in a single campaign with 41 league strikes, surpassing Gerd Muller’s long-standing mark of 40.
N’GOLO KANTE @ 8/1
The French star has been a standout player since joining the Premier League with Leicester. His stock has continued to rise since joining Chelsea in 2016 and he is the main hub for his club and country. He helped the Blues to Champions League success and will be a key feature in Thomas Tuchel’s side next season. Kante’s performances for France – having lifted the 2018 World Cup – at Euro 2020 proved he is one of the best players in world football and deserves to be a contender.
HARRY KANE @ 8/1
Kane had a slow start to Euro 2020 but ended up as England’s top goalscorer at the tournament as he led the Three Lions to their maiden European Championship final. That followed another superb season in the Premier League as he again won the golden boot award, holding off the challenge of Mo Salah. Kane is linked with a move away from Tottenham in a bid to win silverware, with Manchester City and Manchester United leading the way, but it will take big money for the Londoners to part with their 27-year-old talisman.
JORGINHO @ 9/1
In previous seasons, players have won the Ballon d’Or based on team achievements, but Jorginho’s displays this season definitely had an impact on his team’s success. He started for Chelsea in the Champions League final victory over Manchester City before starring for Italy as they lifted their second ever European Championship crown. He is in the frame after winning the two biggest trophies in football this year and could be a value pick in the Ballon d’Or odds.
CRISTIANO RONALDO @ 10/1
Ronaldo is the closest person to Messi in the list of Ballon d’Or victories, sitting one behind with five. The Portuguese forward was the Euro 2020 Golden Boot winner to prove he can still perform at the highest level. Juventus only finished fourth in Serie A after nine straight titles but did taste Coppa Italia success, while Portugal fell at the last-16 stage of the European Championship as main rival Messi won the Copa America. That will hurt Ronaldo’s chances.
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