Lionel Messi has won more Ballon d’Or awards than any other player in history. The Argentinian superstar has landed the prestigious international prize on six occasions and he looks in pole position to be named the best player in world football once again in the 2021 rankings.
Messi now finds himself at PSG after leaving Barcelona during the summer, the club at which he scored 38 goals in all competitions last season and also played an integral part in leading them to the Copa del Rey trophy.
In La Liga, Messi ended the 2020/2021 season as the league’s top goalscorer with 30 goals. He was seven clear of the next best, which was recorded by Karim Benzema and Gerard Moreno. The former Barcelona forward was also inside the top five for the most assists.
Messi is currently the odds-on favorite at -275 in the outright football betting markets for the 2021 Ballon d’Or. Victory this year would put him two clear of Cristiano Ronaldo who is second on the list of most wins by a player.
Copa America Success Ensured It Was a Big Year
2021 will also be a special year for Messi as he won his first major international tournament for Argentina at Copa America. Prior to the tournament, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner had played in three Copa America finals and a World Cup final but had lost all four of those matches.
Messi was named the Player of the Tournament and was the top goalscorer in the latest edition of Copa America. His Argentina side defeated rivals Brazil 1-0 in the final at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
The journalists and coaches who vote for the Ballon d’Or often favor what has happened in major international tournaments and so his performances at Copa America could very well edge this year’s award his way.
Lewandowski and Jorginho In Contention
Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski is one of the biggest challengers to Messi this year. The Poland international has been in fantastic form for Bayern Munich where he scored 41 goals in the Bundesliga last season and 48 goals across all competitions.
Lewandowski has now won 18 consecutive Champions League games for his German club, a monumental record in the competition. He scored a brace in Bayern’s 5-0 victory over Dynamo Kyiv to break the record.
The Polish striker has scored 13 goals in ten games already this season and looks set for another huge season in Germany and Europe.
It’s commonly known that the player who wins the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year often goes on to be honored in the Ballon d’Or awards, so naturally, Jorginho has to be in contention this year. The midfielder was part of Chelsea’s Champions League-winning team, while with Italy, he lifted the European Championship earlier this summer.
Jorginho’s style of play is very similar to that of Luka Modric who won the award in 2018. If he lands the trophy this year, he will be the first Italy national team player to do so since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.
This year’s Ballon d’Or ceremony will take place in Paris on November 29th.