The French Football Association has released a shortlist consisting of 30 players who are likely to win the 2021 edition of the Ballon d'Or. The award ceremony of the prestigious award was called off last year due to the impact of the Covid-19 but it is back this year. This year's edition looks like the most competitive in years as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who have been the most frequent winners of the award have slowed down judging by their high standards.
The 30-man shortlist contained one goalkeeper, five defenders, nine midfielders, and fifteen forward players.
New Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma is the only goalkeeper to be nominated for the Ballon d'Or this year. The Italian thoroughly deserves his nomination as he helped Italy lift the European Championship and also helped his former team, AC Milan secure Champions League qualification last season.
Giorgio Chiellini of Juventus was also rock-solid at the back as Italy cruised to Euro 2020 victory.
AC Milan's Simon Kjær, Chelsea's Champions League winner Cesar Azpilicueta, and Ruben Dias, who had an excellent debut season with Manchester City last season, are the other defenders on the 30-man shortlist.
N'Golo Kante, who was highly instrumental to Chelsea's Champions League success, made the cut. He is one of the favourites for the award after an impressive 2021 which saw him also win the UEFA Super Cup and help France reach the UEFA Nations League final. He is the current UEFA Midfielder of the Year.
Kante's teammate Mason Mount, Inter Milan's Nicolo Barella, Barcelona star Pedri, Manchester United talisman Bruno Fernandes, Real Madrid's midfield maestro Luka Modric, hot favourite and Champions League winner Jorginho, and Champions League finalists Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne are the other midfielders nominated for this year's edition of the prestigious award.
Laurato Martinez - Argentina and Inter Milan
Kylian Mbappe - France and Paris Saint-Germain
Riyad Mahrez - Algeria and Manchester City
Erling Haaland - Norway and Borussia Dortmund
Raheem Sterling - England and Manchester City
Lionel Messi - Argentina and Paris Saint-Germain
Neymar - Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain
Robert Lewandowski - Poland and Bayern Munich
Romelu Lukaku - Belgium and Chelsea
Cristiano Ronaldo - Portugal and Manchester United
Mohamed Salah - Egypt and Liverpool
Karim Benzema - France and Real Madrid
Gerard Moreno - Spain and Villarreal
Luiz Suarez - Uruguay and Atletico Madrid
Harry Kane - England and Tottenham Hotspur
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