The Premier League dominates the 30-man shortlist for this year’s Ballon d’Or as no fewer than 14 stars from England’s top flight vie for football’s most prestigious prize.
The award – given to the year’s best footballer – was cancelled last year owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
Paris Saint-Germain‘s Lionel Messi won the men’s award in 2019, seeing off Liverpool‘s Virgil van Dijk and Manchester United‘s Cristiano Ronaldo to the prize, the sixth time he has won the Ballon d’Or.
The 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or is being unveiled. The award was canned in 2020
Ballon d’Or shortlist
Premier League: Cesar Azpilicueta, Kevin de Bruyne, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruben Dias, Bruno Fernandes, Phil Foden, Jorginho, Harry Kane, N’Golo Kanté, Romelu Lukaku, Riyad Mahrez, Mason Mount, Mohamed Salah, Raheem Sterling
Serie A: Nicolas Barella, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Simon Kjaer, Lautaro Martinez
LaLiga: Karim Benzema, Luka Modric, Gerard Moreno, Pedri, Luis Suarez
Ligue 1: Gianluigi Donnarumma, Kylian Mbappé, Lionel Messi, Neymar
Bundesliga: Erling Haaland, Robert Lewandowski
France Football – who organise the event – are moments away from revealing their 30-man shortlist, although journalist Karim Djaziri has leaked the nominees on Twitter.
Fourteen players from the Premier League have been nominated, according to the leak.
They include: Cesar Azpilicueta, Kevin de Bruyne, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruben Dias, Phil Foden, Bruno Fernandes, Jorginho, Harry Kane, N’Golo Kante, Romelu Lukaku, Riyad Mahrez, Mason Mount, Mohamed Salah and Raheem Sterling.
Nicolas Barella, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Simon Kjaer and Lautaro Martinez all represent Serie A on the list.
Paris Saint-Germain enjoyed a strong summer transfer window and two of their newest recruits make the shortlist, including Messi, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
Five players represent LaLiga in Karim Benzema, Luka Modric, Gerard Moreno, Pedri and Luis Suarez, while Robert Lewandowski and Erling Haaland are the only Bundesliga stars to feature.
Despite the Premier League’s dominance on this year’s shortlist, Messi remains the bookmakers’ favourite to scoop the award on November 29.
The Argentine scored 38 goals in 47 games last season, helping guide Barcelona to the Copa del Rey before winning the Copa America with his country this summer.
Messi leads the way ahead of Bayern’s Lewandowski, who was harshly denied the award last year after it got cancelled. Meanwhile, Chelsea’s Jorginho is also in contention having won the Champions League and Euro 2020 this year.
The 10-player shortlist for the Kopa Trophy – awarded to the best male player under the age of 21 – has also been unveiled, with three England stars featuring.
Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka, Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood and Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham have been named.
Elsewhere, Megan Rapinoe – who won the women’s Ballon d’Or two years ago – missed out on the 20-woman shortlist for this year’s prize, while Lionesses Ellen White and Fran Kirby were nominated.
More to follow…