Ballon d'Or

Ballon d'Or 2021: The confirmed 30-player shortlist

Lionel Messi is up for his seventh Ballon d'Or
Lionel Messi is up for his seventh Ballon d'Or / FRANCK FIFE/GettyImages

The Ballon d'Or is back for 2021, and the race has rarely been as open as it is this year.

Paris Saint-Germain superstar Lionel Messi is vying for his unfathomable seventh prize, and while he's obviously going to be in the running, there are so many other players who you genuinely feel are in with a real shot at winning.

France Football's 30-man shortlist has been revealed, and among the favourites is Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski, whom many felt was the deserving winner in 2020 before the vote was scrapped due to COVID-19,

There are also a lot of eyes on Chelsea's midfield, with Jorginho and N'Golo Kante both up for the award. The former was instrumental in winning the Champions League and led Italy to Euro 2020 glory, while the latter was utterly outstanding in the late stages of Chelsea's European triumph.

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Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne is also expected to be in with a shout of winning. The Belgian starred for Pep Guardiola's side as they won the Premier League title and took home the PFA Player's Player of the Year award for the second consecutive season.

Other standout nominees include Cristiano Ronaldo, who has shone on his return to Manchester United, and his former partner-in-crime Karim Benzema, whose game has reached new heights over the past few seasons with Real Madrid.

Liverpool hitman Mohamed Salah has done his chances of winning no harm thanks to his outstanding form in the early months of the 2021/22 season, although the Reds' struggles last year may see the Egyptian come up short.

Finally, there's a feel-good shout for AC Milan's Simon Kjaer, whose success in 2021 transcends football. It was the Dane who took charge of the harrowing scenes at Euro 2020 which saw teammate Christian Eriksen collapse on the field following a cardiac arrest, beginning CPR before comforting the Inter midfielder's wife.

2021 Ballon d'Or shortlist

Riyad Mahrez (Man City)
N'Golo Kante (Chelsea)
Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus)
Mason Mount (Chelsea)
Harry Kane (Tottenham)
Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan, PSG)
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Raheem Sterling (Man City)
Nicolo Barella (Inter)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona, PSG)
Bruno Fernandes (Man Utd)
Pedri (Barcelona)
Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)
Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)
Neymar (PSG)
Ruben Dias (Man City)
Lautaro Martinez (Inter)
Simon Kjaer (AC Milan)
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
Jorginho (Chelsea)
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
Romelu Lukaku (Inter, Chelsea)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus, Man Utd)
Gerard Moreno (Villarreal)
Phil Foden (Man City)
Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
Luis Suarez (Atletico Madrid)