Lionel Messi has confessed that he plans to vote for Paris Saint-Germain team-mates Kylian Mbappe and Neymar in the upcoming 2021 Ballon d’Or. Messi is among the favourites to win the prize – which would be his seventh – but faces serious competition from the likes of Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski and Chelsea midfielder Jorginho.
The five aforementioned player are among 30 other nominees shortlisted for the the men’s 2021 Ballon d’Or award. Six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi is largely regarded as the favorite for the gong after successfully ending his quest for international glory with Argentina by winning the Copa America this summer. Robert Lewandowski remarkable form across the last two seasons has seen hime get a shout for the accolade whereas Jorginho’s success with Chelsea in the Champions League and Italy in Euro 2020, has not gone unnoticed.
Many expect the contest to be one of the tighest seen yet although Lionel Messi looks welll-positioned to snatch the gong. In an interview with French publication L’Equipe, the former Barcelona talisman revealed that he will be voting for his teammates Kylian Mbappe and Neymar Jr.
He said: “Obviously, I have two players in my team for whom I will vote: Neymar and Kylian.”
The 34-year-old Argentine, however, spared a moment to commend Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema for having one of the best individial seasons in recent years. The former, having led the Bavarians to the UEFA Champions Leagut tophy, was denied the chance to win the 2020 edition after the organisers’ decision to scrap it.
“There are players who individually have had a great season, like Robert Lewandowski,” he said.
“[Karim] Benzema has also had a great year. It’s hard to say [who will win] because what you do as a team matters a lot in the Ballon d’Or. It used to be the best player of the year that won the award but now it’s the one who accumulates the most titles. Achieving things has a lot of weight in this award.”
Meanwhile, five Chelsea players, including captain Cesar Azpilicueta, are among those nominated, as are five from Premier League champions Manchester City. Harry Kane is one of 13 Premier League players shortlisted, along with England teammates Phil Foden, Mason Mount, and Raheem Sterling. Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, are also on the list.
For Cristiano Ronaldo, his inclusion means that he has been selected for the France Football award for a record 17-consective time. The Portuguese has, however, won the honor on five occasions with his archnemesis Lionel Messi now on the verge of securing his seventh.
Here is a list of all the 30 nominees for this year’s Ballon d’Or Award:
- Cesar Azpilicueta (Spain/Chelsea)
- Nicolo Barella (Italy/Inter Milan)
- Karim Benzema (France/Real Madrid)
- Leonardo Bonucci (Italy/Juventus)
- Kevin de Bruyne (Belgium/Manchester City)
- Giorgio Chiellini (Italy/Juventus)
- Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/ Manchester United)
- Ruben Dias (Portugal/Manchester City)
- Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy/Paris Saint-Germain)
- Bruno Fernandes (Portugal/Manchester United)
- Phil Foden (England/Manchester City)
- Erling Haaland (Norway/Borussia Dortmund)
- Jorginho (Italy/Chelsea)
- Harry Kane (England/Tottenham)
- N’Golo Kante (France/Chelsea)
- Simon Kjaer (Denmark/AC Milan)
- Robert Lewandowski (Poland/Bayern Munich)
- Romelu Lukaku (Belgium/Chelsea)
- Riyad Mahrez (Algeria/Manchester City)
- Lautaro Martinez (Argentina/Inter Milan)
- Kylian Mbappe (France/Paris Saint-Germain)
- Lionel Messi (Argentina/Paris Saint-Germain)
- Luka Modric (Croatia/Real Madrid)
- Gerard Moreno (Spain/Villarreal)
- Mason Mount (England/Chelsea)
- Neymar (Brazil/Paris Saint-Germain)
- Pedri (Spain/Barcelona)
- Mohamed Salah (Egypt/Liverpool)
- Raheem Sterling (England/Manchester City)
- Luis Suarez (Uruguay/Atletico Madrid)