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Lionel Messi strong favorite to win record seventh men’s title tonight in Ballon d’Or 2021 ceremony

The Ballon d’Or ceremony returns in Paris tonight after cancellation of the 2020 awards; Lionel Messi is the favourite to win the men’s award, while England’s Ellen White and Fran Kirby are nominated for the women’s trophy; event starts at 7pm UK time.

The Ballon d’Or will be handed out for the first time in two years tonight, with Lionel Messi the strong favourite to claim the men’s award for a record seventh time at the ceremony in Paris.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward ended his long wait for a major international trophy when he helped Argentina win the Copa America in the summer, while he also guided Barcelona to Copa del Rey glory before moving to the French capital in August.

Messi’s likely closest challenger for the trophy is Robert Lewandowski, who was the favourite in 2020 before the awards were cancelled because of Covid.

Lewandowski has scored 73 goals in just 60 games for Bayern Munich since the start of last season, and won FIFA’s and UEFA’s men’s player of the year awards in 2020.

DORTMUND, GERMANY – AUGUST 17: Robert Lewandowski of München celebrates after scoring his team’s third goal during the Supercup 2021 match between FC Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park on August 17, 2021 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Alexander Scheuber/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images)

There are 14 Premier League players on the 30-strong shortlist (see below) for the men’s award, including four – Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Mason Mount, and Cesar Azpilicueta – who helped Chelsea win the Champions League in May.

Romelu Lukaku, who scored the goals that powered Inter Milan to their first Serie A title in 11 years before he moved to Stamford Bridge in the summer, is also shortlisted.

Men’s Ballon d’Or nominees

  • 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)

Women’s Ballon d’Or nominees

  • 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)