After the cancellation of the 2020 edition, there will be greater importance attached to the 2021 Ballon d’Or.
France Football decided to scrap the award last year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic leaving certain winner, Robert Lewandowski, a bit miffed.
But the most prestigious individual award in the sport will return in 2021 with the award ceremony being held in December each year.
The award takes into account performances in a calendar year with a lot of weighting being placed on trophies players have won in the last 12 months.
Failure to win a league title or the Champions League and you stand very little chance of claiming the Ballon d’Or. However, with the European Championships and Copa America this summer there are plenty of opportunities for players to increase their chances of making the podium come December.
But who is leading the running right now after less than three months of the year?
Well, Marca have revealed the odds of the top 10 following this week’s Champions League matches.
With both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi crashing out of the competition, their chances of landing yet another Ballon d’Or took a major blow. Both of their sides aren’t likely to win their respective domestic leagues, either.
So, who are the favourites as things stand? Let’s take a look:
1. Kylian Mbappe (3.5 per euro bet)
2. Robert Lewandowski: 6.5
3. Christiano Ronaldo: 7
4. Neymar: 11
5. Kevin De Bruyne: 11
6. Bruno Fernandes: 11
7. Erling Haaland: 13
8. Lionel Messi: 15
9. Harry Kane: 26
10. Luis Suarez: 26
It’s perhaps unsurprising to see Mbappe leading the betting. His four goals over two legs against Barcelona saw Paris Saint-Germain reach the last-eight of the Champions League. If he leads his side to Champions League glory, there’s surely no looking past him - not to mention France’s chances of winning the European Championships.
Lewandowski is in second after agonisingly missing out last year. Again, if he can lead Bayern to another Champions League victory then he may well be the favourite.
Seeing Ronaldo in third is perhaps a surprise. The Portuguese superstar was slammed for his role in Juventus crashing out of the Champions League in midweek while they’re not guaranteed the Serie A title this time around.
Neymar and De Bruyne make up the top five despite both perhaps not having the greatest season of their careers so far.
Manchester United’s Fernandes comes in as the sixth favourite - although he will probably need to win a trophy to stand any chance.
The same applies to Haaland. It may be a shock to see him only seventh favourite as things stand but with Norway not at Euro 2020 and Borussia Dortmund unlikely to win a trophy this season, the wonderkid may struggle for individual plaudits come December.
It’s going to be difficult to see Messi claim his seventh Ballon d’Or with Barcelona crashing out of Europe. Perhaps if they can win La Liga and he leads Argentina to the Copa America, then it could happen.
Kane and Suarez complete the top 10 with the two strikers continuing to bang the goals in for fun. If Suarez can help Atletico overturn their deficit against Chelsea and help Diego Simeone’s side win the league, then he could well be one of the favourites when the ceremony rolls around.
A lot can change between now and the end of 2021 so but it’s clear Mbappe stands a fantastic chance of becoming the first Frenchman to win the award since Zinedine Zidane in 1998.News Now - Sport News