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France Football has announced the final 30-player shortlist for the 2021 Ballon d’Or award – and 14 of the nominees are from the Premier League. After a break in 2020 due to COVID-19 – robbing Robert Lewandowski of an inevitable inaugural triumph – the prestigious award is back up for grabs this year.
Paris will host the 2021 Ballon d’Or ceremony on November 29 and, as usual, a star-studded group of players are up for the award.
Six-time holder Lionel Messi could become PSG’s first-ever winner after his summer move from Barcelona.
Cristiano Ronaldo, a five-time winner in his own right, could be the first from the Premier League since he won it during his first stint at Manchester United in 2008.
Manchester City and Chelsea have more nominees than any other team with five each, while United have two and Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur have one each.
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Messi is the reigning champion, narrowly edging Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk to the award in 2019.
The 34-year-old is the favourite to secure a seventh Ballon d’Or crown, with Bayern Munich’s Lewandowski closely behind.
Jorginho – the UEFA Player of the Year – is the third favourite as Ronaldo and the Italian’s Chelsea teammate N’Golo Kante make up the top five.
Other Premier League nominees are Cesar Azpilicueta, Ruben Dias, Mason Mount, Bruno Fernandes, Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez, Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Mohamed Salah and Romelu Lukaku.
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Luka Modric is the only player other than Messi and Ronaldo to win the award since 2007.
The 2018 holder is among those nominated, along with outsiders in the running like AC Milan’s Simon Kjaer, Inter Milan’s Nicolo Barella and Villarreal’s Gerard Moreno.
Here’s the full 30-man shortlist for the 2021 Ballon d’Or award:
Goalkeepers/Defenders: Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Simon Kjær (AC Milan), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Ruben Dias (Manchester City).
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Midfielders: N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Pedri (Barcelona), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Jorginho (Chelsea), Phil Foden (Manchester City).
Forwards: Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City), Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Lionel Messi (PSG), Neymar (PSG), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Kylian Mbappe (PSG), Gerard Moreno (Villarreal), Luis Suarez (Atletico Madrid).
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