Your guide to every man on Ballon d’Or shortlist

Your guide to every man on Ballon d'Or shortlist

    1. Who will win Men’s Ballon d’Or?

      Image caption: Lionel Messi won the most recent Men’s Ballon d’Or in 2019

      The battle for the title of world’s best footballer has come round again, with the winner of the Men’s Ballon d’Or to be decided on 29 November.

      Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have won 11 of the last 12 awards between them, with Luka Modric’s success in 2018 the only anomaly. All three are on the shortlist again, but will there be a new winner?

      Handed out by publication French Football, the prize is seen as one of the most prestigious in world football – but who will win?

      Take a look at our profiles of the 30 shortlisted candidates and give a thumbs up to those you think have a claim to the crown.

    2. Cesar Azpilicueta

      Club: Chelsea, Country: Spain, Position: Defender, Age: 32

      Cesar Azpilicueta

      Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta is one of the more surprising names on the shortlist.

      The 32-year-old, usually more of an unsung hero, helped Chelsea to win the Champions League last season as part of an impressive backline.

      He reached the Nations League final with Spain.

      Tuchel revealed he doesn’t know which five Chelsea players are on the shortlist.

      “I hope one of our players gets it because it will increase the confidence. But I don’t know what five names are on the list,” he said.

  1. Nicolo Barella

    Club: Inter Milan, Country: Italy, Position: Midfielder, Age: 24

    Nicolo Barella

    Skilful midfielder Nicolo Barella had undoubtedly the best season of his career, winning Serie A with Inter Milan and then Euro 2020 with Italy.

    He only missed two league games all season – and netted against Belgium at the Euros.

  2. Karim Benzema

    Club: Real Madrid, Country: France, Position: Forward, Age: 33

    Karim Benzema

    Karim Benzema, at the age of 33, enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career on a personal level.

    He hit 30 goals in 46 games in all competitions for Real Madrid and finished second in the La Liga Golden Boot race to Lionel Messi.

    Sadly for him those goals were not enough to help Real to any silverware.

    He has won a trophy though – Benzema has scored six goals for France after coming back following a six-year international exile, including in their Nations League final win over Spain.

  3. Leonardo Bonucci

    Club: Juventus, Country: Italy, Position: Centre-back, Age: 34

    Leonardo Bonucci

    Leonardo Bonucci was one of the big Italy heroes from their Euro 2020 triumph.

    He scored the equaliser in the final against England, and then netted in their 3-2 shootout win.

    At club level, he only won the Coppa Italia with Juventus.

  4. Erling Braut Haaland

    Club: Borussia Dortmund, Country: Norway, Position: Forward, Age: 21

    Erling Braut Haaland

    Erling Braut Haaland is likely to be on Ballon d’Or shortlists for many years to come.

    His rapid ascent continued last season with 41 goals in as many games for Borussia Dortmund.

    He scored twice in the German Cup final win over RB Leipzig, his first trophy since joining the club.

    Haaland has also scored several crucial goals to help Norway’s World Cup qualification bid.

  5. Giorgio Chiellini

    Club: Juventus, Country: Italy, Position: Centre-back, Age: 37

    Giorgio Chiellini

    Giorgio Chiellini captained Italy to Euro 2020 glory, beating England in the final.

    He had a disappointing club season though, only playing 17 times for Juventus in Serie A as their nine-year grip on the title came to an end.

  6. Kevin de Bruyne

    Club: Man City, Country: Belgium, Position: Midfielder, Age: 30

    Kevin de Bruyne

    Kevin de Bruyne had an injury-hit campaign with Manchester City – but still scored six Premier League goals and 12 assists as they won the title.

    He also played in the Champions League final and had some impressive moments for Belgium at Euro 2020.

  7. Ruben Dias

    Club: Man City, Country: Portugal, Position: Centre-back, Age: 24

    Ruben Dias

    Ruben Dias was a huge hit in his first season in England, helping Manchester City to win the Premier League.

    He was named men’s footballer of the year by the Football Writers’ Association, the first defender to do so for 32 years.

  8. Gianluigi Donnarumma

    Club: PSG, Country: Italy, Position: Goalkeeper, Age: 22

    Gianluigi Donnarumma

    Gianluigi Donnarumma is the only goalkeeper to be nominated.

    He was named Uefa’s player of the tournament for Euro 2020, becoming only the second keeper to win the award, after Peter Schmeichel in 1992.

    Donnarumma conceded four goals in seven matches in the tournament and saved two penalties in the Azzurri’s final shootout win over England, which gave them a first European title since 1968.

    In his final season with AC Milan, Donnarumma was named Serie A’s best goalkeeper after playing all but one league match as Milan finished second.

  9. Bruno Fernandes

    Club: Man Utd, Country: Portugal, Position: Midfielder, Age: 27

    Bruno Fernandes

    Bruno Fernandes was a highly influential player for Manchester United last season with a total of 28 goals in 58 games – despite not being a striker.

    In the Premier League his 12 assists were only behind Harry Kane and his 18 goals were just below Kane and Mohamed Salah.

    He scored in the Europa League final penalty shootout, but United lost to Villarreal.

  10. Phil Foden

    Club: Man City, Country: England, Position: Midfielder, Age: 21

    Phil Foden

    Phil Foden cemented his place as one of Manchester City’s most important players with another excellent campaign.

    He netted 16 times as City won the Premier League and reached the Champions League final – before going to Euro 2020 with England.

  11. Jorginho

    Club: Chelsea, Country: Italy, Position: Midfielder, Age: 29


    Last season was almost perfect for Jorginho. He helped Chelsea beat Manchester City to win the Champions League, before winning the European Championship with Italy.

    He played 56 times for club and country last season, scoring nine goals.

    Jorginho started the new season by claiming a third Uefa trophy of the year when Thomas Tuchel’s side beat Villarreal to lift the Super Cup in Belfast.

    In August, he was named Uefa men’s Player of the Year.

  12. Harry Kane

    Club: Tottenham, Country: England, Position: Forward, Age: 28

    Harry Kane

    Harry Kane captained England to the Euro 2020 final, scoring three goals on the way until their final defeat by Italy.

    With 23 league goals for Spurs, he won his third Premier League Golden Boot.

    No trophies though.

  13. N’Golo Kante

    Club: Chelsea, Country: France, Position: Midfielder, Age: 30

    N'Golo Kante

    N’Golo Kante was his usual brilliant self in midfield as Chelsea won the Champions League.

    The France international finished third in the Uefa Men’s Player of the Year award.

  14. Simon Kjaer

    Club: AC Milan, Country: Denmark, Position: Centre-back, Age: 32

    Simon Kjaer

    Denmark captain Simon Kjaer’s nomination is surely in part down to the events of the summer.

    Kjaer and the medical team that saved Christian Eriksen’s life at Euro 2020 were the recipients of this year’s Uefa President’s Award.

    Eriksen, 29, suffered cardiac arrest during Denmark’s Euro 2020 defeat by Finland in Copenhagen on 12 June.

    Kjaer has been recognised for showing “exceptional leadership qualities” in his response to the situation.

    The centre-back helped AC Milan finish second in Serie A.

  15. Robert Lewandowski

    Club: Bayern Munich, Country: Poland, Position: Forward, Age: 33

    Robert Lewandowski

    Robert Lewandowski finished as the top scorer in Europe’s top domestic leagues with an incredible 41 Bundesliga goals.

    As well as winning the title with Bayern Munich, Lewandowski won the European Golden Shoe, and broke Gerd Muller’s 49-year record of Bundesliga goals in a campaign.

    He scored nine goals in 11 appearances for Poland last season, including three at Euro 2020. In doing so, he became the first Polish player to score in three consecutive European Championships.

  16. Romelu Lukaku

    Club: Chelsea, Country: Belgium, Position: Forward, Age: 28

    Romelu Lukaku

    Remarkably, the Serie A title with Inter Milan was Romelu Lukaku’s first trophy in over a decade.

    He finished second in the Golden Boot race with 24 goals – and was named Serie A’s Most Valuable Player.

    He rejoined Chelsea for £97.5m this summer.

    Lukaku has also had a prolific year with Belgium, netting roughly a goal a game.

  17. Riyad Mahrez

    Club: Man City, Country: Algeria, Position: Winger, Age: 30

    Riyad Mahrez

    Riyad Mahrez scored 14 goals last season as Manchester City won the Premier League and Carabao Cup – and looks on course for an even better scoring season this time.

    He has also been prolific in World Cup qualifying for Algeria.

  18. Lautaro Martinez

    Club: Inter Milan, Country: Argentina, Position: Forward, Age: 24

    Lautaro Martinez

    Lautaro Martinez won the first two trophies of his career last season – Serie A with Inter Milan and the Copa America with Argentina.

    He scored 19 goals across the season for Inter, and three in the Copa America

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