France Football and L’Equipe have released the 30-man shortlist for the 2021 Ballon d’Or.

Messi - Ballon d'Or
Lionel Messi is the bookies’ favorite to win the Ballon d’Or in 2021. (Image: Twitter/ankurmessi_)

14 players come from the English Premier League. Six-time winner Lionel Messi and five-time Ballon holder Ronaldo are in the chase for the most prestigious individual accolade in world football.

Champions League winners Chelsea have five nominees: Cesar Azpilicueta, Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Mason Mount, and Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian super forward played for Inter until this summer, when he was re-signed by Chelsea for a club-record transfer fee. Premier League winners City have five nominations themselves: Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez, Ruben Dias, and Raheem Sterling.

Euro 2020 holders Italy have four players in the run: Nicolo Barella (Inter), Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini (both Juventus), and Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG).

Man. United’s Bruno Fernandes also made it on the list, as did Robert Lewandowski, Bayern’s Polish goal machine, Real Madrid’s Luka Modric, or Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.

Teenage sensation Pedri from Barcelona is a newcomer to the list, as is Simon Kjaer, Denmark, and AC Milan’s defender. Apart from Kjaer, surprise runners for the Ballon d’Or this year are Chelsea’s duo Azpilicueta and Mount.

The full 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or 2021

Ballon d'Or 2021 nominees
(Image: Twitter/actufoot_)

Who are the nominees for the Kopa and Yashin trophies?

The best under-21 player will receive the Kopa. This year, the jury will decide between Mason Greenwood, Bukayo Saka, Pedri, Jeremy Doku, Ryan Gravenberch, Jamal Musiala, Florian Wirtz, Jude Bellingham, Gio Reyna, and Nuno Mendes.

Rewarding the best goalkeeper of the year, the Yashin prize will be contested by Ederson, Kasper Schmeichel, Edouard Mendy, Emiliano Martinez, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Thibaut Courtois, Keylor Navas, Manuel Neuer, Jan Oblak, and Samir Handanovic.

All the winners will be announced in a gala which will take place in Paris on 29 November.

Last year, the Ballon d’Or was not awarded due to the pandemic context. Robert Lewandowski was the big favorite to win it. The rumors that France Football and L’Equipe will award two separate trophies this year, one to Lewandowski for 2020 and one to the winner of the 2021 vote, were not confirmed by the event’s organizers.

Messi is the big favorite to win it for a record seventh time, after gathering impressive numbers in Barcelona’s shirt in the first half of the year and winning Copa America with Argentina in July. Messi is now at -200 to take home a seventh Ballon d’Or, with Robert Lewandowski and Jorginho behind him at +400. Kevin De Bruyne is at +1100, the same as N’Golo Kante. Cristiano Ronaldo currently stands at +1500.

The nominees for the women’s Ballon d’Or:

Kadidiatou Diani (FRA/PSG)
Fran Kirby (ENG/Chelsea)
Jennifer Hermoso (ESP/FC Barcelona)
Christiane Endler (CHL/PSG, Lyon)
Christine Sinclair (CAN/Thorns FC)
Ashley Lawrence (CAN/PSG)
Irene Paredes (ESP/PSG, FC Barcelona)
Jessie Fleming (CAN/Chelsea)
Lieke Martens (NED/FC Barcelona)
Sandra Panos (ESP/FC Barcelona)
Viviane Miedema (NED/Arsenal)
Ellen White (ENG/Manchester City)
Pernille Harder (DEN/Chelsea)
Samantha Mewis (CAN/North Carolina Courage)
Wendie Renard (FRA/Lyon)
Marie-Antoinette Katoto (FRA/PSG)
Stina Blackstenius (DEN/Häcken)
Magdalena Eriksson (SWE/Chelsea)
Sam Kerr (AUS/Chelsea)
Alexia Putellas (ESP/FC Barcelona)

The jury for the men’s trophy will consist of 180 international journalists representing countries all around the world. The jury for the women’s Ballon d’Or will see 50 journalists who are experts in the women’s game. There will be 10 nominees for the Kopa and Yashin trophies. The Kopa will be decided by previous Ballon d’Or winners, while the Yashin will have the same international jury as the men’s Ballon d’Or.

The 65th Ballon d’Or ceremony will be hosted by former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba and by French journalist Sandy Heribert.