Nominees for the 2021 Ballon d’Or have allegedly been leaked ahead of Friday evening’s announcement.
France Football’s golden award is the most coveted individual prize in football with Europe’s best player receiving the iconic trophy during the traditional ceremony in the New Year.
30 players are up for nomination but it appears someone has jumped the gun ahead of the French magazine’s announcement.
The usual suspects Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, unsurprisingly, are on the list that has circulated on social media.
They’ve cleaned up since CR7 scooped the award in 2008 with only Luka Modric breaking the duopoly after his Real Madrid and Croatia heroics in 2018.
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But now there’s a sense it could be someone else’s turn as Messi and Ronaldo enter the twilight of their playing days with six and five awards respectively.
Ronaldo will be desperate to finish his career on an even keel with the Argentine but new challengers could emerge with Messi’s new PSG team-mates, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, on the list too.
Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland has emerged as one of the world’s best bona fide number nines and he’s also included, as is Karim Benzema, Bruno Fernandes and Harry Kane.
AC Milan’s Simon Kjaer, whose inspirational leadership helped Denmark through the medical emergency of Christian Eriksen at Euro 2020, is also on the roll call.