The golden ball award also known as the Ballon D'or is awarded to the best player of the calendar year. Leo Messi hold the record for most Ballon D'ors with 6 golden balls already to his name.
Players are judged based on their performances in a Calendar year and not by seasons. The manner in which a player start a particular season will also be reviewed while judging. Votes are casted by sport Journalist around the world and the player with the highest number of points or votes, is crowned the best player.
Some players stood out last season as a result of their incredible performances and they aren't slowing down this season as well.
The top 10 contenders based on their performances last season and this season are ranked below;
10. Gianluigi Donnarumma (Paris Saint-Germain)
After being at Milan since he was 17, Donnarumma saw that it was time for a change but he didn't leave without making his team qualify for the Champions League. AC Milan haven't made it to the Champions League since the 2013/2014 season i.e before the arrival of Gianluigi Donnarumma. He secured their qualification last season before he left for Paris Saint-Germain during the summer window. He was also awarded the player of the tournament at the concluded Euro 2020 as he guided Italy to the prestigious Euro 2020, successfully keeping out two Penalty shoot-outs both in the Semifinal and Final of the competition against Spain and England respectively. Donnarumma will have a hard nut to crack in securing game time at Paris Saint-Germain. PSG also have the 3 times Champions League winner, Keylor Navas in goal. Regardless of that, Donnarumma has made several appearances for the club including in their Sunday's home victory against Olympique Lyon.
9. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
At 36 years of age, Cristiano isn't slowing down a bit. He recorded the fastest distance travelled in United's last Premier League match against West Ham United. He had a not-too-good spell with Juventus last season as they struggled to make the top 4, stuff they do season by seasons without stress. He ended the season with the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana. He also secured the golden boot in Serie A and at the Euros. Got fed up in Juventus and requested to leave Turin. His wish was granted and he returned back to his boyhood club, Manchester United. Ronaldo has scored in every United's match he's played since making his debut. He currently has 4 goals in 3 games and recently broke the men's international goal record after his brace against Ireland. Indeed a strong start to the season and won't be overlooked in the judging criteria.
8. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)
After a failed move to Los Blancos, Mbappe will spend another season at Paris. PSG failed to win their traditional Ligue 1 title last season as they fell short to Lille. They ended the season with the Trophee des Champions and were a Semifinalist at the 2020/2021 UEFA Champions League. Mbappe sent shock waves to the football world after hitting an hat-trick against Barcelona at the round of 16 stage of the competition. Unfortunately, he had a poor Euros with France as he didn't find the back of the net once for Les Bleus during the duration of the tournament. He never allowed the Euros and also the crazy summer window affect his start to the season. He already has a couple of goals and assists to his name for the Paris giant including a last minute assist for Mauro Icardi against Lyon which sealed their win.
7. Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
Haaland might just break Pele's records at 25 years of age with the pace the star is going. Erling is wired differently and already has more goals than games played. He was instrumental as Dortmund secured a Champions League quaterfinal run, Champions League qualification and a DFB-Pokal win. His prowess in the Champions League competition earned him the UCL forward of the 2020/2021 season. He was dealt a big blow as Norway failed to qualify for the Euros but he won't be letting his country suffer the same fate at the world cup as he is Singlehandedly carrying them through the world cup qualifiers. Despite the summer noise of him heading to the bridge, he has also had a monstrous start to life this season regardless of the departure of Jadon Sancho. He is currently the top scorer in the Bundesliga and also scooped the Bundesliga player of the month ahead of rival Robert Lewandowski. Haaland still has more years left in him and he is definitely smashing lot of records that stands in his way.
6. Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea)
After failing to land the signature of Haaland, Chelsea saw the dangerous goal poacher, Big Rom as an alternative. Big Rom should be in any conversation which involves the best number '9' of the decade. He has proven to be clinical in front of goals over the years not only in Belgium but also in England and Italy. His formidable duo with Lautaro Martinez ended Juventus' scudetto run last season which earned him the Serie A MVP ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo. He was also excellent for Belgium at the Euros as they made a quaterfinal appearance at the tournament. After much consideration, he secured a return back to where it all started, the bridge for a fee of around €115m which made him the all-time most expensive player. He has had quite a second start to life at Chelsea netting 4 goals in 5 games with one coming in his debut against Arsenal and another in his Champions League debut for the club against Zenit. He is currently having a season and shouldn't be written off.
5. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
In 5th is Lukaku's national team mate, Kevin De Bruyne. KDB hasn't had quite a start to this season as he hasn't played lot of matches due to injury. He was instrumental as Manchester City secured the Premier League, Carabao cup and a first time ever Champions League final appearance. A knock in tbe final from Antonio Rudiger kept him out of the remaining minutes but wasn't enough to keep him out of the Euros. He helped Belgium get to the quaterfinal of the Euros but were unfortunate to fall short at the hands of Italy. He made his season appearance in City's 6-3 Champions League victory against RB Leipzig but found the back of the net in their 6-1 EFL cup win against Wycombe. He will be looking to have his first Premier League start against Chelsea during the weekend.
4. Ngolo Kante (Chelsea)
Mr. Nice guy that isn't nice on the pitch. You are looking for an interceptor? Call General Kante. Kante has proven to be Chelsea's midfield general and workaholic. He was the reason they lifted the Champions League trophy as he claimed 4 Man of the matches award in the knockout stages of the competition including one against Manchester City in the final. His prowess in the Champions League earned him the Midfielder of the 2020/2021 UCL campaign. Had a poor Euros with France as they got knocked out in the round of 16 at the hands of Switzerland. He made his first Premier League appearance against Tottenham hotspur during the weekend and he marked it with an unusual goal. He is General Kante.
3. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
This guy scores for fun. He is already on an 18 consecutive scoring streak for the Bavarian giant. He has scored in all matches he's played this season and isn't stopping yet. At 33 years of age and hasn't gotten to the apogee of his career yet. He was the favourite to land the cancelled 2020 Ballon D'or award as he ended the 2019/2020 season with 6 trophies to his name. He succeeded in breaking the late Gerd Muller's record for goals scored in a single season last season as he ended the season with 41 goals to his name. A knock kept him out of Bayern's Champions League quater final clash with Paris Saint-Germain which led to their elimination. He scored couple of goals as well for his country during the Euros but it wasn't enough. He is already up and running this season as he has scored in all matches he has played for the Bavarian giant including a double against Barcelona in the Champions League. He is built differently.
2. Jorginho Frello (Chelsea)
"He is too slow, he is Sarri's son, the guy with 4K passes without an assist". These were the criticisms Jorginho faced in past seasons with the blues. He was even thrown to the bench when Frank Lampard was in charge but Jorginho has given the haters nothing to talk about again. He won 3 trophies in the space of 3 months which included a Champions League and Super Cup with Chelsea and the Euros with France. He doesn't assist or score lot of goals, but he controls the procession of the midfield. He runs both Chelsea and Italy's midfield. His winnings secured him the UEFA POTY award at the UCL draw ahead of team mate, Ngolo Kante and Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne. He is already up and running with Chelsea as they have 5 wins in 6 matches without a loss yet and 1 goal conceded through the 5 matches. A nice start to the season.
1. Leo Messi (Paris Saint-Germain)
He isn't having a season to remember yet but will definitely have one. After 21 years with the club of his life, Fc Barcelona, Messi moved to Paris to start another footballing career against his wish. He helped Fc Barcelona secure the Copa Del Rey and were almost at the verge of securing the La liga title but poor management costed the club. 2021 may have been a rough year for the Argentine, but it was also one to remember for the rest of his life as it finally saw the end of Messi's wait for an international trophy. Messi won Argentina's first Copa America with his united Argentina team at Brazil's soil in 28 years. This sent frenzy to the football world as most fans' dream of seeing him with an international trophy finally came to pass. He hasn't had quite a good start to life at PSG as he is yet without a goal or assist in 3 games and he picked up a knock in their last game against Lyon which will keep him out of their Wednesday's clash against Metz. Messi still has more years in him and will surely deliver. A 7th Ballon D'or loading for the magician.
Who are you backing to go home with the prestigious award and who has had the best start to life this season?
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