Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo is today expected to be named as one of the nominees for the Ballon d’Or today as a 30-man shortlist is announced.
After a year hiatus due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic across global domestic football, the world’s most prestigious individual football award will make a return later this year.
This afternoon, 30 players will be shortlisted as nominees for the award – with the United returnee expected to once again be in the running for the top honour.
After a magnificent season for Juventus, followed by a hot start to life back in Manchester, Ronaldo is looking to again compete with long-time rival Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo has won the award five times within the last 12 years.
The runaway favourite this year however, is the man who has won the award six times within the last 12 years – Lionel Messi.
The former Barcelona turned PSG star has scored 37 goals and 14 assists in 46 appearances this calendar year.
Ronaldo meanwhile, has registered 34 goals and four assists in 47 appearances.
But who else is amongst the favourites? Here’s who the oddsmakers have as their favourites (via SkyBet).
Ballon D’Or 2021 favourites
Lionel Messi: 1/2
As previously mentioned, Lionel Messi’s statistics speak for themselves. A simply dominant attacking player who dragged Barcelona to a title run last season – they’re really struggling without him.
Robert Lewandowski: 5/1
Aged 33, the Polish striker is arguably in the form of his life. Scoring 41 goals in 29 games whilst leading Bayern Munich to a Bundesliga championship, Lewandowski is performing like the best number 9 on the planet – and continues to impress this season with seven goals in as many games.
A somewhat maligned player, Jorginho has simply had an incredibly year. He became an important figure for Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea and was one of their better performers on their way to winning the Champions League final, before going on to win the European Championship with Italy.
Kevin de Bruyne: 12/1
Manchester City’s talisman had a simply phenomenal year as his side would go on to cruise to a Premier League title. He was named PFA Player’s Player of the year for the second consecutive season.
N’Golo Kante: 12/1
Along with Jorginho, the Frenchman was vital in Chelsea’s Champions League run. Arguably the best box-to-box midfielder in the world – N’Golo Kante has gone from underrated and underappreciated to Ballon D’Or contender.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 16/1
Low down amongst the favourites, it seems Ronaldo’s previous season is being taken for granted. With 34 goals and four assists in 47 appearances – CR7 will certainly be considered for the award once again this year.