THE Ballon d’Or has finally arrived as Lionel Messi seeks an unprecedented seventh gong.
And speculation in Spain suggests he has already got it, ahead of the man who would probably have won the cancelled 2020 award – Robert Lewandowski.
Great rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who is not attending the ceremony, has finished in sixth place.
That marks the first time the Portugal captain has finished outside the top three since 2010.
Barcelona’s Pedi has been announced as winner of the Kopa Trophy, honouring the world’s best young player, and Lewandowski has won the new Striker of the Year award.
Meanwhile Alexia Petellas of Barcelona has won the Women’s Ballon d’Or.
The winner of the award will be confirmed at around 9pm UK time tonight.
The full ceremony will be televised on Eurosport, while L’Equipe’s YouTube channel will be offering a free live stream.
Ballon d’or top 10
- Cristiano Ronaldo
- Mo Salah
- Kevin de Bruyne
- Kylian Mbappe
- Gianluigi Donnarumma
Get all the latest football news, updates and transfer gossip below…
BALLON D’OR COUNTDOWN
Chelsea and France star N’GOLO KANTE has finished 5th this year.
International teammate and Real Madrid striker KARIM BENZEMA ends up in 4th spot.
And Chelsea and Italy playmaker JORGINHO takes home 3rd.
That leaves just Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski!
YACHINE TROPHY – FINAL STANDS
- 1st: Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG)
- 2nd: Edouard Mendy (Chelsea)
- 3rd: Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid)
- 5th: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)
- 6th: Emi Martinez (Aston Villa)
- 7th: Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester)
- 8th: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)
- 10th: Samir Handanovic (Inter Milan)
Gianluigi Donnarumma has been awarded the Yachine Trophy for Best Goalkeeper.
The PSG ace was Player of the Tournament as he led Italy to Euro 2020 glory.
Donnarumma also helped AC Milan return to the Champions League before sealing a free transfer to the French capital.
BALLON D’OR COUNTDOWN
Man City and Belgium star KEVIN DE BRUYNE has finished 8th in the rankings.
In 7th is Liverpool and Egypt ace MO SALAH.
And Man Utd’s Portuguese striker CRISTIANO RONALDO takes 6th.
Spain and Barcelona star Alexia Putellas has been crowned the 2021 Women’s Ballon d’Or winner.
She saw off teammate Jennifer Hermoso and Chelsea’s Australian ace Sam Kerr to take the top prize.
Arsenal’s Vivienne Miedema came 4th, with Dutch star Lieke Martens 5th.
BALLON D’OR COUNTDOWN
The next two names on the Ballon d’Or list have been revealed.
PSG and Italy goalkeeper GIANLUIGI DONNARUMMA has finished in 10th.
While PSG teammate and France star KYLIAN MBAPPE has taken 9th place.
Robert Lewandowski has won the inaugural Best Striker award.
The Bayern Munich star broke Gerd Muller’s Bundesliga record with 41 goals last season.
This term, Lewandowski has 25 goals in 20 matches across all club competitions.
And he has also netted 11 times in 12 games for Poland this year, making for an incredible 60 goals in 2021.
KOPA TROPHY – FINAL STANDINGS
- 2nd: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund)
- 3rd: Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich)
- 5th: Mason Greenwood (Man Utd)
- 6th: Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)
- 7th: Florian Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen)
- 8th: Ryan Gravenberch (Ajax)
- Joint-9th: Jeremy Doku (Stade Rennais) & Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund)
Barcelona’s Pedri has won the first award of the night, being crowned Best Youngster with the Kopa Trophy.
The Spain international beat English duo Jude Bellingham and Mason Greenwood to the award.
It caps a fine night for Pedri, with the playmaker also finishing 24th in the Ballon d’Or standings despite being just 19 years old.
UK punters have bet over £5million on this year’s Ballon d’Or.
And PSG star Lionel Messi is the 2/5 favourite to win the award, with 44% of all bets placed on him
BritishGambler.co.uk also revealed 23% of all bets have been placed on Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, who is 3/1 to win the award for the first time.
But Chelsea’s Jorginho is only 33/1 in spite of winning both the Euros and the Champions League, with only 2% of bets placed on the Italy midfielder.
The main 2021 Ballon d’Or event is set to get underway, and football’s biggest names have been arriving in Paris.
This year’s favourite Lionel Messi arrived with wife Antonella Roccuzzo and their three children.
Robert Lewandowski, who was set to win last year before the show was cancelled due to Covid, was flanked by wife Anna.
And Kylian Mbappe showed up with his father Wilfried.
ONE AND LEONLY
Lionel Messi boasts more Ballon d’Or crowns than anyone else in football – including arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Argentine, 34, has won the most-prestigious individual crown in football SIX times to the Manchester United star’s five.
But how did former Barcelona wizard Messi – now at Paris Saint-Germain – win his six crowns?
TEN TO ONE
Just ten names left to go… but who will be victorious this year?
- Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
- Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)
- Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG)
- Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
- Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd)
“I always want to congratulate those who win, within the sportsmanship and fair-play that have guided my career since the beginning, and I do it because I’m never against anyone.
“I always win for myself and for the clubs I represent, I win for myself and for those who love me. I don’t win against anyone.
“The biggest ambition of my career is to win national and international titles for the clubs I represent and for the national team in my country.
“The biggest ambition of my career is to be a good example for all those who are or want to be professional footballers.
“The biggest ambition of my career is to leave my name written in golden letters in the history of world football.
|I will end by saying that my focus is already on Manchester United’s next game and on everything that, together with my team-mates and our fans, we can still achieve this season. The rest? The rest is just the rest…”
Cristiano Ronaldo has unleashed a lengthy statement in Portuguese, appearing to take aim at the Ballon d’Or organisers.
The Instagram post read: “Today’s outcome explains why (editor-in-chief of France Football) Pascal Ferré’s statements last week, when he stated that I confided in him that my only ambition was to finish my career with more Golden Balls than Lionel Messi.
“Pascal Ferré lied, he used my name to promote himself and to promote the publication he works for.
“It is unacceptable that the person responsible for awarding such a prestigious prize could lie in this way, in absolute disrespect for someone who has always respected France Football and the Ballon d’Or.
“And he lied again today by justifying my absence from the Gala with an alleged quarantine that has no reason to exist.”
Over half-way through the player rankings and the next list has been revealed…
- 14th – Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus)
- 13th – Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)
- 12th – Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea)
- 11th – Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
Barcelona star Dani Alves says Christian Eriksen should be given this year’s Ballon d’Or award after his Euro 2020 ordeal.
Alves explained: “Eriksen deserves the Ballon d’Or this year for what he’s been through.
“It would be a strong message for the whole world of football, people would have more sensitivity.
“Messi is the best, he has been for 20 years, but it would be nice for everyone if Eriksen won it.”
Here’s the latest group of players to be ranked at this year’s Ballon d’Or ceremony…
- 19th: Mason Mount (Chelsea)
- 18th: Simon Kjaer (AC Milan)
- 17th: Luis Suarez (Atletico Madrid)
- 15th: Raheem Sterling (Man City)
Patrice Evra appears to have leaked the Ballon d’Or winner by congratulating Lionel Messi.
The Manchester United legend posted on Twitter, writing: “Congratulations to Leo Messi for winning another Ballon d’or.”
Although the announcement is not due until 9pm tonight, Evra has jumped the gun.
If true, it would see Messi collect his SEVENTH Ballon d’Or and beat off challenges from the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema.
The 2021 Ballon d’Or reveal list has already kicked off, with numerous Premier League players involved.
Here are the stars who have already been announced…
- Joint-29th: Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea) & Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
- Joint-26th: Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan), Ruben Dias (Man City) & Gerard Moreno (Villarreal)
- 25th: Phil Foden (Man City)
- 23rd: Harry Kane (Tottenham)
- Joint-21st: Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan) & Bruno Fernandes (Man Utd)
- 20th: Riyad Mahrez (Man City)
RUBBED THE RON WAY
Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly snubbing tonight’s Ballon d’Or ceremony.
The Man Utd star is set to finish outside the top three – which hasn’t happened since 2007.
And with arch-rival Lionel Messi in line to win, SIC claims Ronaldo will not be present at the awards show in Paris.
Arsenal sporting director Edu admits he has already talked to Arsene Wenger over a return to the club.
Echoing Mikel Arteta’s sentiments, Edu said: “It was great to see Arsene Wenger the other day at the screening for his new documentary.
“We had a good conversation, and I said to him that he cannot realise how important he is for my career.
“I told him I would like to see him a bit closer to the club and to myself as well in the future.
“That would be a real, real pleasure and special for everyone here.”
Jamie Carragher claims Rio Ferdinand once tried to push through a sensational transfer to Chelsea.
Hitting back at the Man Utd icon for comments about never winning a title, Carragher tweeted: “Not talking titles but the deal for Ronaldo to Man Utd which you arranged.
“No Premier League for me but Sky like my opinions!
“No trophy in your career without Alex Ferguson and when you stopped winning Premier League at Manchester United you tried to move to Chelsea so please stop giving it the big United fan one! #olesatthewheel.”
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