The organizers of France Football published on Friday the list of 30 finalists for the 2021 Ballon d’Or award.
Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski, Neymar, Karim Benzema, Jorginho and N’Golo Kante are among the nominees.
Other big stars on the short list include Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappe, Luka Modric, Phil Foden, and Romelu Lukaku.
A Ballon d’Or in the direction of any of the aforementioned would not be a surprise, but the likes of Euro 2020 winner Jorginho and his Chelsea teammate Kante also have their sights set on a surprising victory.
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A selection of international journalists, coaches and national team captains will determine the winner, and each voter will be asked to choose their top five.
Once that process is complete, the prestigious award will be presented in a dazzling ceremony in Paris on November 29.
Since France Football was forced to take a coronavirus-imposed break from Ballon d’Or duty in 2020, the current holders of the male and female gongs have reigned for two years.
Messi was the last man to win the men’s award in 2019, and the Copa América winner took the top prize for the sixth time.
Bayern Munich’s Lewandowski failed to succeed Messi despite enjoying a remarkable career in front of goal last year, and the prolific Pole had to settle for a FIFA Best award.
France Football announced shortlist of 10-player finalists for two other awards: the Kopa Trophy, awarded to the best performing player under the age of 21, and the Yashin Trophy, awarded to the best goalkeeper.
30 nominees for the 2021 Ballon d’Or:
Kevin De Bruyne
List of finalists for the Kopa Trophy:
Mason Greenwood, Bukayo Saka, Pedri, Jeremy Doku, Ryan Gravenberch, Jamal Musiala, Florian Wirtz, Jude Bellingham, Giovanni Reyna, Nuno Mendes
Yashin Trophy Finalist List:
Gianluigi Donnarumma, Ederson, Kasper Schmeichel, Edouard Mendy, Keylor Navas, Emiliano Martínez, Manuel Neuer, Jan Oblak, Samir Handanovic
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