On October 17th, we will know who will win the Ballon d’Or 2021-22. Record winner Lionel Messi who won the trophy last year, isn’t among the 30 nominees, just like his PSG teammate Neymar. Real Madrid’s star player Karim Benzema is seen as the favourite after winning the Champions League, La Liga and Nations League.
The Ballon d’Or has undergone major changes; the player performances are now taken from a season and not a calendar year. Team success is now more important, and player behaviour and fair play during the season has an influence as well.
Media voters will now be limited to the 100 countries in the FIFA rankings.
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
It’s not surprising that Robert Lewandowski is on the Ballon d’Or shortlist again. Season 2021-22 was another excellent year for the Polish striker and another year with more than 50 goals. Lewandowski started the Champions League in the best way by winning every game in the group stage. Bayern reached the quarter-finals but was defeated by the dark horse Villareal. Lewandowski ended second on the top scorers list. He scored 13 goals, two goals less than Karim Benzema.
The Bundesliga season ended a lot better for Lewandowski. He became champion with Bayern Munich and became top scorer. He played in all the 34 league games and scored 35 goals. The 2021-22 season proved to be his last year in Germany. In the summer transfer window he made a €50.000.000 transfer to Barcelona. Can Lewy win the Ballon d’Or this year after he should have been awarded in 2020?
Vinícius Júnior (Real Madrid)
After a couple of years of settling down, 2021-22 was Vinicius’s break trough year. He scored 17 goals and assisted 13, which helped Real Madrid win the La Liga title by 13 clear points. Vini his most significant achievement was the Champions League win. He helped his club win the cup with four goals and six assists. Real defeated PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City on their road to the final. Real drew Liverpool in the final. Benzema his goal in the first half was disallowed. Vinicius Jr became the big man in the final thanks to his goal. Real Madrid won the final by 1-0. That’s why it’s well deserved that Vinicius got his first Ballon d’Or nomination.
Kylian Mbappé (Paris Saint German)
The youngest player ever to be nominated for the Ballon d’Or had a pretty good 2021-2022 season. He ended on top of the top scorers list and gave the most assists in the Ligue 1, which made him de MVP of the League. He scored 39 goals and asissted 26 over all competitions. PSG was not the only team where Mbappé showed his skills. He also won the second edition of the UEFA Nations League with France. But is it enough to win the Ballon d’Or 2022?
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
The favourite for the 2022 Ballon d’Or, Karim Benzema’s 44 goals powered Real Madrid to La Liga and Champions League triumph last season. It was his best campaign in terms of goals and assists. Karim Benzema managed to score 44 goals and provide 15 assists in just 46 games. The French forward started last season with a Nations League triumph and ended with Champions League glory. He won 3 titles with Real Madrid in the 2021/22 campaign. All the odds favour the French forward after a spectacular season with Real Madrid. The 34-year old finished with an impressive 15 goals in the Champions League. Karim Benzema won multiple individual rewards: La Liga Best Player, La Liga Team of the Season, Champions League Player of the Season, Champions League Team of the Season.
Sadio Mané (Liverpool)
In his final season for Liverpool, Sadio Mané scored 23 goals and provided 5 assists in 51 games. Sadio Mané claimed 3 titles. He won two titles with Liverpool: EFL Cup and FA Cup. Sadio Mané also managed to win the AFCON with Senegal for the first time in history. Furthermore, Sadio Mané is the only player to win a trophy with both club and country over the same period. Sadio Mané was crowned African Footballer of the year and was part of the PFA team of the year. Sadio Mané could become the first African player to win the Ballon d’Or since George Weah in 1995.
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Last season’s Premier League joint top goalscorer Mohamed Salah is included in the shortlist after also providing the most assists last season, despite Liverpool falling just short for the Premier League title. Mohamed Salah managed to score 31 goals and provide 16 assists in 51 games. Salah scored eight goals in the Champions League to help Liverpool reach the Champions League final. He was crowned PFA Player of the year and won the Premier League Golden Boot (among many other individual awards). Just like Sadio Mané, Mohamed Salah could become the first African player to win the Ballon d’Or since George Weah in 1995.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
Ronaldo made it to the final 30 for the 18th time in his career, which is a record. Even though it was a tough year for Ronaldo, he showed us again that he is one of the greatest of all time. He re-joined United at the beginning of the season and was the standout player in a poor-performing team. He ended as third on the list for the Golden Booth with 18 goals, only Heung-Min Son and Mohamed Salah scored more goals. Cristiano Ronaldo his year was crowned with a place in the team of the season in the Premier League. But is it enough to win his 6th Ballon d’Or?
Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)
With 15 goals and 9 assists, De Bruyne helped City win the Premier League. For the 4th time in 5 years. It looked like they would make it to the final again, but they were defeated in the last seconds of the semi-finals. The Belgian playmaker again proved why he is one of the best midfielders in the world this season. Can he be the first Belgian Ballon d’Or winner?
The other nominees:
In total 30 players have a chance to win the Ballon d’Or. The other nominated players that are not mentioned above are nominated are: Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Luis Díaz (Liverpool), Thibaut Courtois, Casemiro, Luka Modrić (Real Madrid), João Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez(Manchester City), Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son (Tottenham Hotspur), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern München), Mike Maignan, Rafael Leão (AC Milan), Darwin Nunez (Benfica), Christopher Nkunku (Red Bull Leipzig), Dusan Vlahovic (Juventus), Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund), Sébastien Haller (Ajax) and Antonio Rüdiger (Chelsea)