Ballon d’Or 2021 LIVE as Lionel Messi beats Robert Lewandowski and Jorginho for award


(AFP via Getty Images)

Lionel Messi is expected to collect his seventh Ballon d’Or award at a glittering 2021 ceremony in Paris this evening. Messi is the favourite after winning the Copa America with Argentina earlier this year, despite one of his less impressive years at club level: Barcelona finished third in La Liga and fell in the first knockout round of the Champions League. However, Messi scored two goals as Barca won the Copa del Rey final and he was La Liga’s top goalscorer once more, before switching to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.

Robert Lewandowski was widely expected to win last year’s award before it was cancelled due to the pandemic, and the Bayern Munich striker is in the running once again. Chelsea’s Jorginho is another candidate, having won the Champions League with his club and Euro 2020 with his country Italy a couple of months later.

Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas and Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema lead the charge for the women’s award. Putellas scored in the final as the all-conquering Barca won the Champions League, while Miedema is both Netherlands and Women’s Super League all-time leading goalscorer and racked up goals at the Olympic Games. Spain’s Pedri is expected to win the Kopa Trophy for the best men’s young player, while Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy and PSG’s Gianluigi Donnarumma lead the running for the men’s goalkeeper award, the Yashin Trophy.

The ceremony takes place tonight at the Chatelet Theatre in Paris, starting from 7.30pm GMT. It will be streamed live online via L’Equipe’s YouTube channel, and Eurosport will also be streaming the award on its website and the Eurosport app. The ceremony is expected to end around 9pm GMT. You can follow all the latest updates below.Keep up with all the latest breaking news by signing up to our free email alerts by clicking here.

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Alexia Putellas wins Ballon d’Or 2021 after starring role in Barcelona’s treble-winning season

Robert Lewandowski wins Striker of the Year at Ballon d’Or 2021 award ceremony after prolific year with Bayern Munich

Story continues

Pedri wins Kopa Trophy at Ballon d’Or 2021 award ceremony after shining for Barcelona and Spain

Gianluigi Donnarumma wins goalkeeper’s Yashin Trophy at Ballon d’Or 2021 awards ceremony

Ballon d’Or 2021

Messi, Lewandowski, Jorginho and Benzema chase men’s award

Chelsea’s Champions League-winning captain Azpilicueta finishes T-29

Man City and England playmaker Foden places 25th

England captain and Spurs striker Kane ranks 23rd

Chelsea’s Mount comes 19th

Highest-ranked England star is Sterling in 15th

Pedri wins Kopa Trophy, Jude Bellingham in second

Lewandowski wins new Striker of the Year award

Putellas wins Ballon d’Or Feminin award

Donnarumma wins Yashin Trophy as best goalkeeper

Chelsea win new Club of the Year award

Messi wins record seventh Ballon d’Or

Ballon d’Or 2021: Messi and Putellas win in Paris

21:21 , Karl Matchett

It’s fair to say the immediate social reaction is exactly what you’d expect: a perfect divide of “Lewandowski was robbed”, “Messi is the greatest” and everything in between. Including a few shouts for players who weren’t even in the running. And “proof” that certain individuals should have won because of, well, to put it bluntly, things they didn’t actually do during 2021.

But such is life on Twitter and beyond.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Messi and Putellas triumph in Paris

21:18 , Karl Matchett

The champions with their prizes! And their names and faces all over Paris, which is the real prize of course.

After two years since the last Ballon d’Or was awarded – no ceremony meant no anything at all last year for France Football – this was a pleasing and spectacular return to form.

21:10 , Karl Matchett

Messi has the Ballon d’Or and Messi hits the big red button – and lights up the Eiffel Towe with in celebration. With a big massive poster of himself and Alexia Putellas alongside.

What a double that would have been for Barcelona, if only they hadn’t been run in just about the worst way fathomable for several years in a row.

As it is, it’s a win for PSG and a win for Barcelona Femeni!

That brings the awards ceremony to a close, but we’ll have plenty of reaction on the way.

(REUTERS)

(AFP via Getty Images)

21:06 , Karl Matchett

Messages from his family, from team-mates past and present, lots of video montages and a lot of Argentinians celebrating both his career and the Copa America victory.

Lionel Messi and those who play alongside him are used to this sort of thing by now aren’t they? Doesn’t mean he hasn’t deserved every bit of it – what a player.

Has he been the finest in 2021 though? That’s something which will be endlessly debated between now and…well, next year’s event more than likely.

Messi is presented the Ballon d’Or, his seventh, by Luis Suarez.

(AFP via Getty Images)

Lionel Messi wins Ballon d’Or 2021 to claim record seventh trophy

20:56 , Karl Matchett

Lionel Messi has won the men’s 2021 Ballon d’Or, and a record seventh trophy, at an awards ceremony in Paris on Monday evening.

Messi, 34, held off the challenge of Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema and Chelsea’s Jorginho to collect the prize and move two clear in his long-running battle with five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo, who was among the 30 players shortlisted but did not feature in the top three for the first time in 11 years.

Messi was the favourite to collect the award after winning the Copa America with Argentina earlier this year – his first major international trophy – despite one of his less impressive periods at club level: Barcelona finished third in La Liga and fell in the first knockout round of the Champions League. However, Messi scored two goals as Barca won the Copa del Rey final and he was La Liga’s top goalscorer once more, before switching to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.

Lionel Messi wins Ballon d’Or 2021 to claim record seventh trophy

Ballon d’Or 2021: LIONEL MESSI WINS SEVENTH AWARD

20:54 , Karl Matchett

MESSI WINS THE 2021 BALLON D’OR!

As if you ever doubted it! That’s a seventh time of being ranked the world’s best player for Messi, whose big achievement in 2021 was to win the Copa America for a long-awaited title with his national team Argentina.

Messi finishes first, Lewandowski in second.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Chelsea win Club of the Year

20:51 , Karl Matchett

Chelsea have just been announced as Club of the Year – comprising the achievements of both their men’s and women’s team.

Emma Hayes is there as manager of the Women’s team and makes the point she hopes the team can be there in future – it’s the international break for women’s football so they are unable to be present.

Thomas Tuchel is also in attendance and praises the achievements of his side, the women’s team – WSL winners – and the academy sides, too.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Fifth to third announced including Kante

20:49 , Karl Matchett

We are approaching the main men’s prize and we’re down to two: Lewandowski and Messi. That’s because we’ve just had fifth to third rattled off:

5th – N’Golo Kante, Chelsea and France

4th – Karim Benzema, Real Madrid and France

3rd – Jorginho, Chelsea and Italy

Ballon d’Or 2021: Drogba’s message to Kjaer after Eriksen incident

20:39 , Karl Matchett

A special thanks from Didier Drogba to Simon Kjaer, on account of the role he played in helping to save the life of Christian Eriksen during the summer after his collapse at Euro 2020.

The Danish national team went on a stunning run thereafter, buoyed in part by the recovery of their midfielder.

Gianluigi Donnarumma wins goalkeeper’s Yashin Trophy at Ballon d’Or 2021 awards ceremony

20:34 , Karl Matchett

Gianluigi Donnarumma has won the Yashin Trophy, awarded to the world’s best goalkeeper this year at the Ballon d’Or ceremony in Paris.

Italy’s No1 played a starring role in their Euro 2020 triumph with crucial penalty shootout saves and kept a miserly defensive record throughout the competition, and he was named the Player of the Tournament. His club form has been less impressive, however, making only made a handful of appearances so far since swapping AC Milan for Paris Saint-Germain in the summer due to injury and the form of Keylor Navas.

Donnarumma, 22, fought off competition from Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy, who has been outstanding under Thomas Tuchel and kept goal as the Blues won last season’s Champions League, as well as helping them to the top of the Premier League this season with only five goals conceded.

More here:

Gianluigi Donnarumma wins goalkeeper’s Yashin Trophy at Ballon d’Or ceremony

Ballon d’Or 2021: DONNARUMMA wins Yashin Trophy

20:33 , Karl Matchett

The winner of the Yashin Trophy and the best goalkeeper in the world for 2021 is Italy’s Gianluigi Donnarumma!

A starring role for the national team at Euro 2020, which they won in summer, while he has also made a high-profile move from AC Milan to PSG since then – a club trophy looks soon to be in the offing there.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Salah and Ronaldo ranked 7th and 6th

20:30 , Karl Matchett

Three more of the shortlisted players are announced in the men’s award and it’s a Premier League trio.

In eighth place is Kevin de Bruyne of Man City and Belgium, Liverpool and Egypt’s Mohamed Salah is in seventh and sixth goes to Cristiano Ronaldo of Man United and Portugal.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Women’s award rankings

20:28 , Karl Matchett

Fran Kirby came in 10th, with Chelsea team-mate Jessie Fleming in ninth. Another Chelsea star was seventh in Pernille Harder, with Arsenal’s free-scoring Vivianne Miedema in fourth.

Sam Kerr, of Chelsea and Australia, came third – Alexia’s Barcelona team-mate Jennifer Hermoso was the runner-up.

(AFP via Getty Images)

Alexia Putellas wins Ballon d’Or 2021 after starring role in Barcelona’s treble-winning season

20:24 , Karl Matchett

Alexia won the Women’s Champions League with Barcelona, the Women’s Primera Division and the Copa de la Reina last season, before also being appointed the full-time captain of the team at the start of this season.

Alexia Putellas wins Ballon d’Or after starring role in Barcelona treble

Ballon d’Or 2021: ALEXIA PUTELLAS wins Feminin award

20:19 , Karl Matchett

And there it is, the expected announcement: the Barcelona star is named the world’s greatest player in women’s football for 2021: Alexia Putellas!

“I’m very emotional, it’s a very special moment. It’s special to have my team-mates here after all we’ve achieved.

“It’s an individual award but it’s a collective achievement – I hope you all see it that way.”

Ballon d’Or 2021: Feminin award up next

20:18 , Karl Matchett

Kylian Mbappe is apparently presenting this award.

Jennifer Hermoso, Sam Kerr, Lieke Martens, Vivianne Miedema, Alexia Putellas – that’s the five bidding for the trophy.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Pedri and Lewandowski pick up awards

20:15 , Karl Matchett

Here are the duo claiming their awards so far tonight: Barcelona’s Pedri, who claimed the Kopa Trophy for the best U21, and Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski, crowned as Striker of the Year.

Reckon he wants that other trophy to his left, though…

(AFP via Getty Images)

(AFP via Getty Images)

Robert Lewandowski wins Striker of the Year at Ballon d’Or 2021 award ceremony after prolific year with Bayern Munich

20:10 , Karl Matchett

A non-stop calendar year of goalscoring for the Polish forward – can he make it a double tonight though?

Shortly we’ll be onto the Yashin Award for the best player at the opposite end of the pitch.

Robert Lewandowski wins Striker of the Year at Ballon d’Or 2021 award ceremony

Ballon d’Or 2021: Donnarumma and PSG kick off top 10 reveal

20:06 , Karl Matchett

We are back to the countdown!

PSG duo Gigi Donnarumma and Kylian Mbappe come in 10th and ninth respectively. Not an altogether happy look on the striker’s face it must be said!

Ballon d’Or 2021: Lewandowski wins Striker of the Year

20:00 , Karl Matchett

Robert Lewandowski has been awarded the first Striker of the Year award!

Drogba presents him the new trophy.

“I’m very proud of this trophy, I know what it means to be ready to score the goal. Everything I do I have to thank my team-mates, coach and staff. Without them it’s difficult to be at the front.”

Ballon d’Or 2021: Kopa Trophy

19:57 , Karl Matchett

Here are the details on the Kopa Trophy which Pedri has claimed! What a stunning year he had with club and country. Hopefully he’s soon back from injury.

Pedri wins Kopa Trophy at Ballon d’Or ceremony after shining for Barcelona and Spain

Ballon d’Or 2021: Bellingham second in Kopa Trophy

19:51 , Karl Matchett

Mason Greenwood finished fifth in the Kopa Trophy rankings, Bukayo Saka sixth.

Jude Bellingham second – a phenomenal achievement for the England international.

Ballon d’Or 2021: PEDRI wins Kopa Trophy

19:49 , Karl Matchett

Boom, our first winner of the night is announced!

Barcelona and Spain midfielder Pedri has been handed the Kopa Trophy.

“The best way to celebrate turning 19 is receiving this award. I’d like to thank everyone at Barelona for helping me here,” he says upon receiving the award.

Ballon d’Or 2021: New awards confirmed

19:48 , Karl Matchett

Striker of the year and club of the year confirmed.

Does this give us an almighty, massive, unsurprising hint at what is in store tonight for that new award and the main prize?

Ballon d’Or 2021: Ceremony underway

19:45 , Karl Matchett

A video playing behind the pair sees one of them miss a penalty out on the street. Luis Suarez looks less than impressed in the audience.

Drogba presents a couple of shirts to the players and takes them to be signed by Mbappe and Pedri.

Feels like half of the PSG squad is here tonight, albeit a few signed – like Donnarumma – since the exploits which have landed them here among the nominees.

(AP)

(AFP via Getty Images)

Ballon d’Or 2021: Trophies on stage

19:41 , Karl Matchett

Just in case you’re in doubt as to the levels of intrigue and spectacle surrounding tonight’s events, we’ve just had the two Ballon d’Or trophies delivered to the stage by mystery figures wearing golden racing helmets.

They are revealed to be Formula One duo Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon. The former is a Real Madrid fan and Ocon a PSG supporter he reveals – which draws applause from the home crowd of course.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Live ceremony broadcast underway

19:35 , Karl Matchett

The face of a man who notched three assists at the weekend. But is it the face of a man set to claim a seventh award as best player on the planet? The ceremony live stream has just begun.

(REUTERS)

Cristiano Ronaldo dismisses ‘lies’ over Ballon d’Or and Lionel Messi motivation

19:31 , Karl Matchett

Cristiano Ronaldo has dismissed claims from a French journalist that his main aim is to finish his career with more Ballon d’Or wins than Lionel Messi.

The Manchester United forward has collected the award five times, while Messi has already won it on a record six occasions and is favourite to take the honour for 2021 at Monday evening’s ceremony in Paris.

Earlier this week, Pascal Ferre, the editor in chief of France Football – organisers of the Ballon d’Or – said Ronaldo had told him that his primary ambition was to retire having won the accolade more times than rival star Messi.

“Today’s outcome explains Pascal Ferre’s statements last week, when he said that I confided in him that my only ambition was to finish my career with more Ballon d’Ors than Lionel Messi,” Ronaldo posted on Instagram.

More here:

Cristiano Ronaldo dismisses ‘lies’ over Ballon d’Or and Lionel Messi motivation

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19:20 , Karl Matchett

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Ballon d’Or 2021: Messi and Mbappe among latest arrivals

19:18 , Karl Matchett

Kylian Mbappe and his dad! Didier Drogba with his sons! Lionel Messi with his entire family!

The past, present and future of many, many goals at the elite end of world football right here.

(REUTERS)

(EPA)

(REUTERS)

Ballon d’Or 2021: Latest arrivals

19:13 , Karl Matchett

And the favourite arrives!

Lionel Messi is hoping to win his seventh Ballon d’Or tonight, which is utterly absurd levels of career-long consistency. In his corner, of course, is a certain Copa America win over the summer, a massive achievement he and the entire nation had waited a long time for at senior level.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Latest arrivals

19:12 , Karl Matchett

Kylian Mbappe: Left-handed. There you go. The same youngster just got the forward’s signature for free; suspect any clubs hoping to do the same in the summer will actually find it costs them rather more over the long term.

Might get them a few goals, though.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Latest arrivals

19:06 , Karl Matchett

From the last post, at the top we had Robert Lewandowski (with karate medallist Anna Lewandowska); below was Fabio Cannavaro; then AS Monaco president Dmitry Rybolovlev; Didier Drogba (with fellow presenter tonight Sandy Heribert); then finally the Bayern Munich trio of Oliver Kahn, Julian Nagelsmann and Hasan Salihamidzic.

Can confirm Luis Suarez did not tackle anybody or win any penalties on his way in.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Latest arrivals

18:57 , Karl Matchett

Spiderman duo Zendaya and Tom Holland, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, a French comedian and a man flourishing his cape – just some of the non-football related sights on the red carpet at the start of tonight. Tremendous.

Which current players and other football faces can you name from this crop? Answers in our next post – one is pretty easy, to be fair…

(REUTERS)

(AFP via Getty Images)

(AFP via Getty Images)

(REUTERS)

(EPA)

Ballon d’Or 2021: Latest arrivals

18:46 , Karl Matchett

Robert Lewandowski here stealing the show by signing a football for a kid carrying a Messi jersey. Levels to that kind of mind-games.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Still to come tonight

18:33 , Karl Matchett

Right, let’s get this in order: there are several things we don’t know about tonight.

First, here’s what will be revealed in the main event:

Ballon d’Or top 10 and winner

Ballon d’Or Feminine winner

Kopa Trophy and Yashin Trophy winners

Two new awards and (presumably) inaugural winners

Now, what about the things we aren’t entirely sure of:

Whether a countdown is coming of the Women’s shortlist or just the winner

Same, but for Kopa and Yashin

What the two new awards are – though reports suggest they are ‘Club of the Year’ and ‘Striker of the Year’

Ballon d’Or 2021: Stars of today and yesterday

18:28 , Karl Matchett

Stars both past and present of the game! Lieke Martens is hoping to land the Ballon d’Or Feminine, while Fabio Cannavaro was the 2006 winner after claiming the World Cup with Italy that year.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Red carpet arrivals

18:25 , Karl Matchett

Oh look, our first images of the night are starting to drop: the players arriving who are on the shortlist, the dignitaries who are representing different clubs…and, of course, the main prize on offer, the Ballon d’Or itself. Here’s Denmark’s Simon Kjaer, who came 18th, and Emilio Butragueno, Real Madrid’s sporting director.

And the ole’ gold ball that 10 players are still hoping to win.

(REUTERS)

(EPA)

(AFP via Getty Images)

Ballon d’Or 2021: Ronaldo hits out at France Football

18:20 , Karl Matchett

Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t holding back. He’s just posted this – France Football’s Pascal Ferre recently hit headlines by claiming Cristiano had told him that his “only ambition” was to “retire with more Ballon d’Or [wins] than Messi”.

Man United’s forward says Ferre has lied and used the Portuguese attacker’s name to promote himself and his publication, and says he always wants to congratulate those who win within sportsmanship and fair play and that his own ambitions are to win national and international titles for his club and country. More to come on that, no doubt.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Full rankings announced so far

18:11 , Karl Matchett

Full list of shortlisted players announced so far:

T29 – Luka Modric, Cesar Azpilicueta

T26 – Gerard Moreno, Nicolo Barella, Ruben Dias

25 – Phil Foden

24 – Pedri

23 – Harry Kane

T21 – Lautaro Martinez, Bruno Fernandes

20 – Riyad Mahrez

19 – Mason Mount

18 – Simon Kjaer

17 – Luis Suarez

16 – Neymar

15 – Raheem Sterling

14 – Leonardo Bonucci

13 – Giorgio Chiellini

12 – Romelu Lukaku

11 – Erling Haaland

Ballon d’Or 2021: Haaland’s highlights and scoring stats

18:07 , Karl Matchett

Is this the man you’d like your team to sign as a new No9 in the summer? He’ll cost an absolute fortune in both transfer fee and salary according to reports, so it’s no wonder Dortmund are fairly calm in terms of their ability to keep him…or cash in!

He’s 11th in the world for Ballon d’Or voting and, considering Norway are far from an international superpower, BVB didn’t win the league and were nowhere near the running to win in Europe, that is a seriously impressive accolade.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Countdown to the ceremony

17:59 , Karl Matchett

Lionel Messi is the odds-on favourite to win the Ballon d’Or in a ceremony in Paris and the PSG star will hope to collect a record seventh prize when he makes the short trip to the Chatelet Theatre this evening.

The Ballon d’Or returns after an absence – last year’s award was cancelled due a football calendar disrupted by the pandemic, a controversial decision which saw Robert Lewandowski almost certainly denied his first golden ball.

Bayern Munich’s Polish striker is among the frontrunners once again, but Messi’s achievement finally winning the Copa America earlier this year has put him top of the pile in this year’s odds. If Messi does win, it would be his seventh Ballon d’Or award, a record tally which would see him move two clear of his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

Here’s where to watch!

Ballon d’Or 2021: Ceremony starting soon!

17:55 , Karl Matchett

Plenty of eager eyes keeping an eye out for their heroes. Hope they’ve got a good way of watching once the action starts unfolding inside the building.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Haaland in 11th ahead of top 10 reveal

17:52 , Karl Matchett

Another monster striker now and it’s Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland, voted in 11th after a spectacular season of scoring goals.

He’s just back from injury this weekend and…yes, found the back of the net.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Lukaku voted into 12th

17:48 , Karl Matchett

A big season for Romelu Lukaku last year as he scored dozens for Inter, helped them win the Serie A title, had a big tournament with Belgium and got his massive-money move back to Chelsea.

All that adds up to 12th-best in the world for a phenomenal calendar year of action.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Chiellini right beside Bonucci

17:47 , Karl Matchett

And as should always be the case, right alongside Bonucci is his partner in crime, Giorgio Chiellini. The Juve and Italy man comes 13th, presumably gaining those extra votes as a result of actually lifting the trophy in summer. Beautiful.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Bonucci in 14th

17:39 , Karl Matchett

Italy centre-back Leonardo Bonucci is ranked at 14th, another of the national team’s Euro 2020 winners from summer.

He’s another who has had a hit-and-miss season this time around with Juventus at club level, but certainly played a big part with the Azzurri for their triumph.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Two hours to the ceremony

17:33 , Karl Matchett

Counting down…and who will be left in the running when we start the ceremony? I think we can guess a few of the names…

Ballon d’Or 2021: Sterling ranked top 15 in the world

17:29 , Karl Matchett

Raheem Sterling is next out to kick off the top half of the reveal. The Man City forward is 15th after, like Foden, winning the league title and reaching the final of both the Champions League and Euro 2020. He played a massive role for England in going the distance in the summer.

Ballon d‘Or 2021: Kane, Neymar and Pedri in video

17:28 , Karl Matchett

Would you like some video montages of the players named so far? Of course you would. France Football have very kindly put together a brief compilation for each, so here are a few of them – England’s Harry Kane, Spain’s Pedri and Brazil’s Neymar, the most recent name out of the hat. Or out of the Twitterverse, more accurately.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Neymar brings up halfway point of rankings

17:21 , Karl Matchett

There’s the man we mentioned the injury of earlier – PSG’s Neymar comes 16th, just inside the bottom half of the world’s top 30 players for 2021. Which sounds both bad and good at the same time, weirdly.

Not the year he would have hoped for overall, especially given no Ligue 1 title win, but still lots of votes his way to put him among the game’s top talents.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Which players are still in the running?

17:19 , Karl Matchett

Right, 30 started on the list and we’re almost halfway through, with 14 names already revealed. Still remaining, in alphabetical order:

Benzema (Real), Bonucci (Juventus), Chiellini (Juventus), De Bruyne (Man City), Cristiano Ronaldo (Man United), Donnarumma (PSG), Haaland (Dortmund), Jorginho (Chelsea), Kante (Chelsea), Lewandowski (Bayern), Lukaku (Chelsea), Mbappe (PSG), Messi (PSG), Neymar (PSG), Salah (Liverpool), Sterling (Man City).

Ballon d’Or 2021: Luis Suarez voted into 17th

17:07 , Karl Matchett

A former Premier League player now and another of last season’s title-winners: Luis Suarez comes 17th after helping Atletico Madrid to the championship in LaLiga by firing in 21 goals. Not bad for a free transfer!

Ballon d’Or 2021: Kjaer in 18th

17:00 , Karl Matchett

Denmark and AC Milan centre-back Simon Kjaer ranks at 18 after an excellent individual season and a year of real progression for club and country, too. Euros semis for the Danes – and don’t forget his pivotal role to help Christian Eriksen after his on-pitch collapse, too.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Mason Mount ranked 19th

16:58 , Karl Matchett

Oh look, we talked it up – here’s Mason Mount and he’s the 19th-best player in world football for 2021.

Quite the achievement for a player who was on loan at Derby County two-and-a-half years ago.

Ballon d’Or 2021: England’s representatives

16:56 , Karl Matchett

So far two of the four England players among the shortlisted group have been revealed:

Phil Foden finished 25th and Harry Kane was two places above him.

Still to come are Chelsea’s Mason Mount and Man City’s Raheem Sterling. The former won the Champions League, the latter reached the final and won the Premier League and both were in England’s squad to reach the final of Euro 2020.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Build-up to the ceremony

16:48 , Karl Matchett

Assuming the ‘censored’ part of this image is a name – presumably the winner – I guess we can rule out 19-character Gianluigi Donnarumma…that’s never fitting in that space, is it?! More than enough space to type ‘Simon Kjaer’, though.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Rankings from 30-20

16:44 , Karl Matchett

T29 – Luka Modric, Cesar Azpilicueta

T26 – Gerard Moreno, Nicolo Barella, Ruben Dias

25 – Phil Foden

24 – Pedri

23 – Harry Kane

21 – Lautaro Martinez, Bruno Fernandes

20 – Riyad Mahrez

(Getty Images)

Ballon d’Or 2021: Top 20 kicks off with Mahrez

16:40 , Karl Matchett

Man City winger Riyad Mahrez is next out – he’s ranked 20th. The Algerian winger scored four times across the Champions League quarters and semi-finals to help his side to the final, where he played the full 90 minutes in defeat. He was a regular in the attack as City won the Premier League, too.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Bruno Fernandes just outside top 20

16:34 , Karl Matchett

The next two names are unveiled and we’ve got Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes, along with Argentina and Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez.

They come in tied for 21st.

Fernandes of course had an incredible start to the year with United as his scoring form continued, and his Europa League form was good too – though he didn’t have quite the required impact at the Euros. Martinez helped Inter to the Serie A title and was the starting centre-forward for his nation as they won the Copa America.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Harry Kane ranked 23rd

16:16 , Karl Matchett

There’s the second of four English players from the shortlist: Harry Kane comes in 23rd.

The Spurs striker has had a shocker of a season so far domestically, but last year won the Golden Boot again in the Premier League and helped fire England to the Euro 2020 final, of course.

Ballon d’Or: Kopa contender Pedri in 24th

16:03 , Karl Matchett

He’s in the running to win the Kopa Trophy tonight, but Barcelona’s midfield teenager Pedri doesn’t quite crack the top 20 this time around for the main event.

24th after what was effectively his second year in senior football is mightily special, all the same!

Ballon d’Or 2021: Phil Foden named in 25th place

16:00 , Karl Matchett

Manchester City starlet Phil Foden is next out, placed 25th best player in world football. What a phenomenal achievement for the 21-year-old.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Man City’s Ruben Dias joint 26th

15:58 , Karl Matchett

Three more names are out and we have three tied in joint 26th.

Nicolo Barella of Inter Milan, Manchester City’s central defender Ruben Dias and Spain and Villarreal forward Gerard Moreno all announced together.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Barcelona dominate the Feminin nominees

15:52 , Karl Matchett

Five of the 20 shortlisted players for the Women’s Ballon d’Or play for Barcelona; given their stunning Champions League success last season it’s little surprise. As we’ve already mentioned, Alexia Putellas is the big favourite – but all her team-mates must be in the running too.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Legends pick their winners

15:43 , Karl Matchett

Plenty of people have something to say on who the recipients of the award should be tonight.

Dani Alves says it should go to Christian Eriksen after his Euro 2020 collapse and subsequent recovery, saying it would “send a strong message” for football to have more sensitivity.

Francesco Totti would give it to Robert Lewandowski, after years of Messi and Ronaldo domination.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Reveal countdown begins with Modric and Azpilicueta

15:39 , Karl Matchett

And the first two players are revealed together, Real Madrid’s Luka Modric and Chelsea’s Champions League-winning defender Cesar Azpilicueta both come in 29th.

The Crotian midfielder is of course a former winner of the Ballon d’Or, claiming the prize in 2018.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Here we go!

15:37 , Karl Matchett

France Football teasing us with a mini announcement instead of the first revealed players…

Ballon d’Or 2021: Neymar out for the rest of the year

15:25 , Karl Matchett

Neymar is on the list of nominees for tonight, though is not expected to be anywhere near the front-runners after a fairly disappointing time of matters – including defeat in the Copa America final.

His 2021 isn’t going to get any better either, as an ankle ligament injury is set to keep him sidelined for 6-8 weeks, it has just been announced. No more action for him until after the winter break and into the new year with PSG.

How low down the list of nominees will he appear tonight? The Ballon d’Or reveal is about to begin!

Ballon d’Or 2021: Clubs arriving for ceremony

15:10 , Karl Matchett

The clubs are cranking up the proganda for their own players now as the excitement builds ahead of the start of the big reveal!

Ballon d’Or 2021: Yashin Trophy nominees

14:58 , Karl Matchett

Worth a run-down on who else is in the running for these awards then, starting with the goalkeepers. Last year, the award was cancelled along with the others, so with the trophy only coming into existence in 2019, Alisson Becker of Liverpool and Brazil is the only winner so far.

In contention this time around:

Thibaut Courtois, Belgium/Real Madrid

Gianluigi Donnarumma, Italy/PSG

Ederson, Brazil/Man City

Samir Handanovic, Slovenia/Inter Milan

Emi Martinez, Argentina/Aston Villa

Edouard Mendy, Senegal/Chelsea

Keylor Navas, Costa Rica/PSG

Manuel Neuer, Germany/Bayern Munich

Jan Oblak, Slovenia/Atletico Madrid

Kasper Schmeichel, Denmark/Leicester

Ballon d’Or 2021: Four awards tonight

14:49 , Karl Matchett

More than one award coming tonight of course!

The Kopa Trophy goes to the best U21 player and the likes of Pedri and Ryan Gravenberch are up for the award, as well as England trio Bukayo Saka, Mason Greenwood and Jude Bellingham.

The Yashin Trophy goes to the top goalkeeper in the game.

Ballon d’Or 2021: What time does it start and how to watch it online?

14:35 , Karl Matchett

We are just under an hour away from the start of the rankings being unveiled by France Football! It’s a long, drawn-out process of course, with the main ceremony not starting until 7:30pm tonight and continuing for some time before we see the eventual winners.

You can check all the details to know right here, including where to follow the Ballon d’Or 2021 ceremony if you’re watching online. Of course, we’ll be keeping you right up to date throughout right here!

What time is Ballon d’Or 2021? When is the ceremony and how to watch it online

Ballon d’Or Feminin: The winners so far

14:25 , Karl Matchett

The women’s award is officially known as the Ballon d’Or Feminin. It only started being handed out as a prize in 2018, so this year will see only the third recipient of it. Of course, we already know we’ll see a new face winning!

2018: Ada Hegerberg (Lyon/Norway)

2019: Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign/USA)

2020: Cancelled

2021: Full shortlist

Ballon d’Or 2021: Latest odds

14:15 , Karl Matchett

Who is looking likely to take home the main prize then among the men? Here are the top players by the latest odds…and there are two clear front-runners.

Messi 4/11

Lewandowski 2/1

Salah 8/1

Jorginho 12/1

Benzema 16/1

Kante 20/1

Ronaldo 33/1

Chiellini 40/1

Mbappe 40/1

Ballon d’Or 2021: Every men’s winner this century

14:06 , Lawrence Ostlere

2000: Luis Figo (Real Madrid)

2001: Michael Owen (Liverpool)

2002: Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

2003: Pavel Nedved (Juventus)

2004: Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan)

2005: Ronaldinho (Barcelona)

2006: Fabio Cannavaro (Real Madrid)

2007: Kaka (Milan)

2008: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)

2009: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

2010: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

2011: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

2012: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

2013: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

2014: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

2015: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

2016: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

2017: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

2018: Luka Modric (Real Madrid)

2019: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

2020: Cancelled

2021: Full shortlist

Ballon d’Or 2021: Unlucky Lewandowski?

13:55 , Lawrence Ostlere

Last year’s award was cancelled due a football calendar disrupted by the pandemic – a controversial decision which saw Robert Lewandowski almost certainly denied his first golden ball.

Bayern Munich’s Polish striker is among the frontrunners once again, but Lionel Messi’s achievement finally winning the Copa America earlier this year has put him top of the pile in this year’s odds. If Messi does win, it would be his seventh Ballon d’Or award, a record tally which would see him move two clear of his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

Bayern manager Julian Nagelsmann hugs striker Robert Lewandowski (Getty)

How to watch Ballon d’Or award ceremony?

13:48 , Lawrence Ostlere

The Ballon d’Or ceremony will be streamed live online via L’Equipe’s YouTube channel. Eurosport will also be streaming the award on its website and the Eurosport app.

What time is the Ballon d’Or award ceremony?

13:41 , Lawrence Ostlere

The ceremony takes place tonight at the Chatelet Theatre in Paris starting from 7.30pm GMT. The ranking will begin by being unveiled at 3.30pm GMT and the ceremony is expected to end around 9pm GMT.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Yashin Trophy

13:32 , Lawrence Ostlere

Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy and PSG’s Gianluigi Donnarumma lead the running for the men’s goalkeeper award, the Yashin Trophy, named after the legendary Russian goalkeeper Lev Yashin.

Mendy has enjoyed a brilliant year for Chelsea as the Blues won the Champions League, and they have been miserly in the Premier League this season with only five goals conceded. Donnarumma has barely featured for his new club PSG, through injury and the form of Keylor Navas, but the 22-year-old enjoyed an outstanding Euro 2020 and was named Player of the Tournament as Italy went all the way.

Ballon d’Or 2021: Kopa Trophy

13:09 , Lawrence Ostlere

Barcelona and Spain prodigy Pedri has been tipped to win the prestigious Kopa Trophy, presented to the best young player in men’s football at the Ballon d’Or 2021 awards ceremony.

Pedri, who turned 19 last week, enjoyed a breakthrough season in the Barcelona first team in 2020-21, featuring in 37 of their 38 league matches, and established himself in the Spanish national team too with his brand of supreme technique and skill on the ball not unlike one of the great midfielders of Barca and Spain, Andres Iniesta.

He was voted Young Player of the Tournament at the summer’s European Championship, and was the only Spanish player to be named in the Euros’ Team of the Tournament, before going on to play at the Olympic Games too. In total, Pedri played 73 matches for club and country in the 2020-21 season.

Pedri faces from Borussia Dortmund and England midfielder Jude Bellingham, who turned 18 during Euro 2020. Bellingham has shone as a box-to-box midfielder for club and country with a rare combination of skill, intelligence and athleticism for someone so young.

Pedri in action for Barcelona (AP)

Who has won the most Ballon d’Or awards?

13:02 , Lawrence Ostlere

While the women’s award has only been going since 2019, the men’s award dates back to 1956. The award, presented by French magazine France Football, is considered the highest individual honour in football. It was only eligible for European players up until 1995, before voting was opened up to all players at European clubs. From 2007, it became a global award.

There are 10 players to have won the prize multiple times, listed below. Germany, Netherlands and Portugal all have seven wins each, while Germany and Italy have the most individual winners – five different players each. Barcelona is the most successful club with 12 wins, though Real Madrid has more individual winners – seven.

Lionel Messi (Arg) – 6

Cristiano Ronaldo (Por) – 5

Michel Platini (Fra) – 3

Johann Cruyff (Ned) – 3

Marco van Basten (Ned) – 3

Franz Beckenbauer (Ger) – 2

Ronaldo (Bra) – 2

Alfredo Di Stefano (Spa) – 2

Kevin Keegan (Eng) – 2

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (Ger) – 2

Ballon d’Or 2021: women’s shortlist

12:45 , Lawrence Ostlere

It was no surprise to see the women’s shortlist dominated by Barcelona Femeni, who thrived at home and abroad en route to a historic treble, while there also plenty of nominations for Women’s Super League winners Chelsea.

Alexia Putellas has been at the heart of everything good about Barcelona’s year so far and the 27-year-old midfielder is the favourite to scoop the third women’s Ballon d’Or, following in the footsteps of Ada Hegerberg in 2018 and Megan Rapinoe in 2019 (the 2020 award was cancelled due to the pandemic). Chelsea’s prolific Sam Kerr is also in the running, as is her teammate Fran Kirby, but if anyone is to pip Putellas it will surely be Barca goalscorer Jennifer Hermoso.

Alexia Putellas (Barcelona)

Magdalena Eriksson (Chelsea)

Marie-Antoinette Katoto (Paris Saint-Germain)

Sam Kerr (Chelsea)

Stina Blackstenius (BK Hacken)

Wendie Renard (Lyon)

Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage)

Pernille Harder (Chelsea)

Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal)

Sandra Panos (Barcelona)

Lieke Martens (Barcelona)

Jessie Fleming (Chelsea)

Irene Paredes (Barcelona)

Ashley Lawrence (Paris Saint-Germain)

Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns)

Ellen White (Manchester City)

Christiane Endler (Lyon)

Jennifer Hermoso (Barcelona)

Fran Kirby (Chelsea)

Kaddiatou Diani (Paris Saint-Germain)

Ballon d’Or 2021: men’s shortlist

12:40 , Lawrence Ostlere

There are 30 names on the men’s shortlist, which is dominated by the Premier League with 14 representatives.

Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)

Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan)

Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus)

Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)

Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)

Ruben Dias (Manchester City)

Gianluigi Donnarumma (Paris Saint-Germain)

Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)

Phil Foden (Manchester City)

Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)

Jorginho (Chelsea)

Harry Kane (Tottenham)

N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)

Simon Kjaer (AC Milan)

Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea)

Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)

Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan)

Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)

Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain)

Luka Modric (Real Madrid)

Gerard Moreno (Villarreal)

Mason Mount (Chelsea)

Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain)

Pedri (Barcelona)

Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

Luis Suarez (Atletico Madrid)

Ballon d’Or 2021: how does voting work?

12:23 , Lawrence Ostlere

Originally voted for by journalists since its conception in 1956, in 2007 the structure of the award was changed to include voting from coaches and captains of national teams around the world, at which point the prize also became open to all players globally rather than just those playing in European leagues – though it has never been won by a player playing outside of Europe.

Each national coach, captain and journalist picks their top three players from the calendar year. The votes are added up, with three points awarded for a top pick, two for a second pick and one point for a third pick.

Ballon d’Or 2021

12:20 , Lawrence Ostlere

Some early insight into who might be in the running this evening:

Ballon d’Or 2021

12:14 , Lawrence Ostlere

Lionel Messi is expected to collect his seventh Ballon d’Or award at a glittering 2021 ceremony in Paris this evening. Messi is the favourite after winning the Copa America with Argentina earlier this year, despite one of his less impressive years at club level: Barcelona finished third in La Liga and fell in the first knockout round of the Champions League. However, Messi scored two goals as Barca won the Copa del Rey final and he was La Liga’s top goalscorer once more, before switching to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.

Robert Lewandowski was widely expected to win last year’s award before it was cancelled due to the pandemic, and the Bayern Munich striker is in the running once again. Chelsea’s Jorginho is another candidate, having won the Champions League with his club and Euro 2020 with his country Italy a couple of months later.

Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas and Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema lead the charge for the women’s award. Putellas scored in the final as the all-conquering Barca won the Champions League, while Miedema is both Netherlands and Women’s Super League all-time leading goalscorer and racked up goals at the Olympic Games. Spain’s Pedri is expected to win the Kopa Trophy for the best men’s young player, while Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy and PSG’s Gianluigi Donnarumma lead the running for the men’s goalkeeper award, the Yashin Trophy.



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