Messi, Lewy or Jorginho? Who are the favourites to win the Ballon d'Or?

With the 30-man Ballon d’Or shortlist announced, Planet Sport takes an in-depth look at five of the bookies frontrunners.

Dating from 1956, the Ballon d'Or is the Holy Grail when it comes to the game's individual awards.

Last year, the annual ceremony was cancelled due to COVID-19 and as a result, we didn't get a winner.

This year though, the pageantry returns with a ceremony scheduled to take place in Paris on November 29.

Here are the leading contenders for the 2021 award…

Lionel Messi 4/1

Lionel Messi has received criticism for a 'slow' start to life at Paris Saint-Germain. Manchester City fans may be of a different opinion after watching the defending Ballon d'Or winner bag a world-class goal against them in the Champions League, however.

Overall, it has been a roller-coaster year for the Argentine. In his final season at Camp Nou, he helped a weakened Barcelona team to third in La Liga and a Copa del Rey triumph.

His haul of 38 goals and 14 assists across 52 games was monumental. 

Nonetheless, it is his international achievements which make Messi favourite to win his seventh Ballon d'Or.

Lionel MESSI of PSG in action during the Champion's League Paris Saint Germain v Manchester City football match at Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris

During the summer, Messi picked up his first major international honour as Argentina ended a 28-year Copa America drought.

The forward was an integral part of that title-winning side, scoring four goals (joint-most) and producing five assists during the tournament. 

Many had previously argued that Messi's legacy couldn't be secured without an international triumph. The 34-year-old has now silenced those doubters as he looks to bag another Ballon d'Or.

Robert Lewandowski 5/1

Is it time for Robert Lewandowski to get justice?

Last year, the Pole looked nailed on to win the award after scoring 55 goals in 47 games during Bayern Munich's treble-winning campaign.

Instead of becoming the first Polish player to win the famous trophy, Lewy was left empty-handed as the annual ceremony was scrubbed.

Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich celebrates after scoring during the German Supercup football match against Borussia Dortmund in Dortmund

Another year has passed and the goals keep on flowing. The striker smashed Gerd Muller's Bundesliga goalscoring record, finding the net 41 times in a season.

The Pole has also kicked off the current season in the same ruthless fashion, scoring seven goals in seven Bundesliga games.

The one thing which could set him back was the disappointing Euro 2020 campaign. Poland failed to get out of their group, finishing bottom with two points to their name.

Though it must also be noted that Lewy still managed to score three goals over the course of the three group games.

Jorginho 13/2

Here's one man who has a realistic chance of upsetting both Messi and Lewandowski.

As a defensive midfielder, a lot of his work may go unnoticed. But don't be quick to dismiss the 29-year-old.

After claiming UEFA's Player of the Year award, the price of 13/2 on the Italian to win the Ballon d'Or certainly offers decent value.

‘I feel at home’ – Jorginho committed to Chelsea stay as he seeks trophy double

Jorginho's first major success of the year came with Chelsea as the Italian helped the Blues to only their second Champions League trophy.

After playing in every minute of the knockout stages, bar a game against Atletico Madrid when he was suspended, the midfielder produced an outstanding performance in the final against Manchester City.

A couple of months later, Jorginho featured in every game of Italy's Euro 2020-winning campaign.

The two victories meant Jorginho claimed both of the biggest trophies on offer this year.

If that doesn't earn you a shot at the Ballon d'Or, than we don't know what will.

N'Golo Kante 16/1

The humblest man in world soccer is next.

N'Golo Kante not only helped Chelsea to the Champions League crown this summer but he also picked up the man-of-the-match award in both legs of the semi-final and the showpiece itself.

N'Golo Kante of Chelsea

Kante has been an integral part of Chelsea's midfield since his move from Leicester and it's fair to say that the Blues wouldn't have enjoyed their level of success without him.

At 8/1, the Frenchman is unlikely to claim the award. However, we expect the 30-year-old to make a strong bid for the top three.

Cristiano Ronaldo 14/1

After a hit and miss year for Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese forward has been priced at 14/1 to win what would be his sixth Ballon d'Or.

Ronaldo ended the previous season as Serie A's top scorer with 29 to his name. Despite that impressive haul, his Juventus side only managed a fourth-placed finish.

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after the final whistle of the UEFA Champions League, Group F match at Old Trafford,

What's more, Juve bowed out of the Champions League in the round-of-16 following a defeat to FC Porto.

Ronaldo's only success during that campaign was claiming the Coppa Italia - a small consolation for a man with his expectations.

Since then, Ronaldo went on to top the scoring charts at the European Championships. The Portuguese international scored five times as his side suffered elimination in the round of 16.

Goal Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United during the UEFA Champions League, Group Stage, Group F football match between Young Boys Berne and Manchester United

CR7 made a sensational return to Manchester United in the summer in a bid to end the club's long trophyless run.

The forward has marked his comeback in style, scoring five goals in six games. If that wasn't enough, he recently broke the international scoring record, overtaking Ali Daei with 111 goals.

Like him or not, you can never count Ronaldo out - even if he's priced at 14/1.

READ MORE: Andorra and Hungary present Kane with great chance to overhaul Greaves' England goalscoring tally

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