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Will Messi win the Ballon d’Or again?

We will see perhaps the most competitive ever shortlist for the Ballon d’Or winner, with 30 names being published on Friday afternoon by France Football Magazine for the 2021 award.

The ceremony will take place on November 29 after a year in which there wasn’t a winner crowned due to the global pandemic, and whilst Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messihave dominated the award for the last decade, it’s impossible to call just who will take home the trophy for their performances in 2021.

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Robert Lewandowski is a standout candidate once again after he broke Gerd Muller’s goalscoring record within a single Bundesliga season, although there have been calls for one of Chelsea’s Champions League winning midfield pairing, N’Golo Kante or Jorginho to win the award.

There are three Spanish representatives on the list, although his may suggest the difficult moment the national team is in after the retirement of 2008’s golden generation, and they are Pedri, Cesar Azpilicueta and Gerard Moreno.

Manchester United make their comeback to the list, much to the chagrin of Ed Woodward who may now found his beloved Ballon d’Or contract clause under threat of being paid, as Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes both make the final shortlist.

Across the city, Ruben Dias, Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne have all been nominated as Manchester City eased to domestic success in the Premier League last term.

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Interestingly, Gianluigi Donnarumma is among the 30-man shortlist and is hoping to become the first goalkeeper in history to win the award after a year in which he won Euro 2020 with Italy.

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The nominees for the 2021 Ballon d’Or

GOALKEEPERS

Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG)

DEFENDERS

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Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus)

Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)

Simon Kjær (AC Milan)

Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)

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Ruben Dias (Manchester City)

MIDFIELDERS

N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)

Mason Mount (Chelsea)

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Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan)

Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)

Pedri (Barcelona)

Luka Modric (Real Madrid)

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Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)

Jorginho (Chelsea)

Phil Foden (Manchester City)

FORWARDS

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Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)

Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)

Harry Kane (Tottenham)

Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

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Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

Lionel Messi (PSG)

Neymar (PSG)

Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan)

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Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea)

Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)

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Kylian Mbappe (PSG)

Gerard Moreno (Villarreal)

Luis Suarez (Atletico Madrid)

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