The news of the cancellation of the 2020 Ballon d’Or came as a shock to the footballing community which can be narrowed down to the dastardly and aggrandizing effect of COVID-19.
So many fans and pundits had just one name on their lips to win one of the most coveted individual awards in world football -Robert Lewandowski. The Polish had an extraordinary year despite the COVID 19; he had 15 Champions League goals, and a whopping 34 Bundesliga goals in 31 games and had a total of 55 goals in 47 games across all competitions making him the frontrunner for the award. He was also the top scorer in the Bundesliga, Champions League, and DFB-Pokal, completing a glorious treble.
The Ballon d’Or is awarded by France Football and since 2007, the managers and captains of national teams have had the right to vote.
Since its inception in 1956, the Ballon d’Or has never been cancelled but had to be cancelled last year due to the devastating effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.
According to France Football editor-in-chief Pascal Ferre, “after thoughtful consideration, all the conditions are not met… we chose the least bad of the option.”
This term, we have a very competitive 2021 edition and with the blazing and scintillating performances of some players, we take a look at the possible winner this year. In no particular order, the following are some of the biggest names to win the award this year.
1. Jorge Luiz Frello Filho Cavaliere Omri (Jorginho)
Jorginho is an Italian defensive midfielder who plays for Chelsea. He was a very instrumental figure in the Chelsea champions league winning team and also a key figure in the triumphant Italian winning team.
He joins an exclusive club of players who won the European Championship in the same year they won the Champions League. The other names are: Emerson, Fernando Torres, Pepe, Christiano Ronaldo, Ronald Koeman, Hans van Breukelen, Barry van Aerle, Gerald Vanenburg and the legendary Spanish midfielder, LuisSuarez.
He had a nice show at the Champions League featuring 12 times, scoring one and assisting one
Although he missed a penalty in the finals of the Euro, there is no doubt he had an amazing tournament. With a 93 per cent pass accuracy, 46 ball recovered, 11 tackles won and 86.6km distance covered, it is yet to be seen if he would not be considered ahead of his peers in the race to the Ballon d’Or
2. Federico Chiesa
Federico Chiesa is a 23-year-old Italian young footballer who plays for Serie A club Fiorentina but is currently on loan as a winger for Juventus and the Italy national team.
The son of former Italian footballer, Enrico Chiesa scored twice at the Euros with a passing accuracy of 80 per cent. He made 46 appearances for Juventus last season and scored 15 goals with 11 assists across all competitions and won Coppa Italia & Supercoppa Italiana.
The Italian might not be one of the biggest names to win it but he will definitely make the biggest statement in the turn-out of events and who knows, he might probably win it.
3. Ngolo Kante
What a player this guy is! The 5 feet, 6 inches tall high-school-looking midfielder has been consistent for some seasons now and has continued to wax stronger and stronger.
His man of the match displays in the Semi-final and final of the Champions League is a big statement. He had a Champions League medal to his credit and was a strong force in the journey to glory. He had one assist in the Champions League.
He might not be one of the strongest names but he’s definitely a contender.
4. Lionel Messi
What more is left to say about this super-gifted Argentine who has held football to his grip for the past 14 years. After a long wait for a senior international trophy, Lionel Messi finally wins the highly coveted South America Copa America in Maracana stadium against the ‘almighty’ Brazil.
He might have not had a highly enjoyable La-Liga run despite winning the Copa Del Rey and getting pwned by arch-rival Athletico Madrid to the title but the Copa America title has given him an edge in the race to a seventh Ballon D’or award.
The attacking maestro registered 33 goals and provided 13 assists in all competitions. He scored four goals in Copa America and was directly involved in nine out of twelve goals Argentina scored in the competition.
He also ended his long silverware drought with Argentina as Argentina beat Brazil in the Copa America final in Rio’s Maracana stadium. He was named in the Team of the Tournament, and finished top scorer alongside Colombia’s Luis Diaz and scooped the best player award.
5. Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski was on a smooth ride to win his first Ballon d’Or with 55 goals and a Champions League medal to cap it at the 2020 edition but got disenchanted due to the cancellation of the award as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Polish goal machine was part of the Bayern team to win a ninth straight Bundesliga trophy and club world cup. He also broke Gerd Muller’s Bundesliga single-season goal record last season and is definitely in contention for the award this time around.
Despite being sidelined for four weeks at a very crucial stage in the season, the Polish went beyond borders and scored his 41st goal in Bayern’s 5-2 win over FC Augsburg in the last game of the season to break Gerd Muller’s 49-year record.
The only set back for him is that he did not feature at the Euro 2020 as Poland didn’t qualify due to a 3-2 defeat to Sweden enroute qualifications.
Meanwhile, an exact date is yet to be known as France Football, organisers of the award are yet to give an exact date for the ceremony but based on the past years, the award might be presented in early to mid-December and the venue has always been Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.