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2021 Ballon d'Or: how does the voting process work?

For the first time since 2019, France Football is to honour the calendar year's outstanding men's and women's footballers at its awards gala in Paris on Monday.

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NP 29/11 | 2021 Ballon d'Or: how does the voting process work?
Thomas Samson AFP

Paris’ Théâtre du Châtelet hosts the first Ballon d’Or gala since 2019 on Monday, with four awards to be handed out at a ceremony presented by former footballer Didier Drogba and French journalist Sandy Heribert.

The Men’s Ballon d’Or and Women’s Ballon d’Or will be given to the top male and female footballers in 2021, while the Yashin Trophy and Kopa Trophy will honour the calendar year's best men’s goalkeeper and men's under-21 player, respectively.

Robert Lewandowski, who would surely have won the award had it not been cancelled in 2020, is joined by the likes of Lionel Messi and Karim Benzema among the favourites for the Men’s Ballon d’Or, while Alexia Putellas is the major candidate to win the women’s top prize.

How are the recipients of the Ballon d'Or awards decided?

For the Men’s Ballon d’Or, 180 journalists from around the world, each representing a different country, are asked to choose five footballers from a 30-player shortlist, in descending order of merit.

The players on each journalist’s list are awarded points, as follows:

First: Six points

Second: Four points

Third: Three points

Fourth: Two points

Fifth: One point

The award then goes to the player who earns the highest amount of points in the voting process. If two or more players are tied on points, the number of first-place votes they received is used as a tie-breaker.

In the Women’s Ballon d’Or, 50 journalists from across the globe select their top five players from a 20-strong shortlist, with the same points process applied as in the Men’s Ballon d’Or.

The Yashin Trophy is chosen by the same jury as the Men’s Ballon d’Or, although in this case the journalists only choose their top three. There are 10 nominees. The winner of the Kopa Trophy is selected by 32 former recipients of the Men’s Ballon d’Or, from a shortlist of 10.

The nominees for each award are chosen by the editorial team at France Football.

Factors taken into account in awards voting

The jury members are told to consider three main criteria when making their choices:

1. Individual and collective performances during the year

2. Player class (talent and fair play)

3. Player's career

Lionel Messi has won six Men's Ballons d'Or, more than any other player.

2021 Ballon d'Or shortlists:

Men's Ballon d'Or:

Gianluigi Donnarumma (Paris Saint-Germain/Italy), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus/Italy), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus/Italy), César Azpilicueta (Chelsea/Spain), Rúben Días (Manchester City/Portugal), Nicolò Barella (Inter Milan/Italy), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City/Belgium), Jorginho (Chelsea/Italy), Luka Modric (Real Madrid/Croatia), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United/Portugal), Phil Foden (Manchester City/England), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United/Portugal), Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund/Norway), Harry Kane (Tottenham/England), N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea/France), Simon Kjaer (AC Milan/Denmark), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich/Poland), Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea/Belgium), Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City/Algeria), Lautaro Martínez (Inter Milan/Argentina), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid/France), Kylian Mbappé (Paris Saint-Germain/France), Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain/Argentina), Gerard Moreno (Villarreal/Spain), Mason Mount (Chelsea/England), Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain/Brazil), Pedri (Barcelona/Spain), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool/Egypt), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City/England), Luis Suárez (Atlético Madrid/Uruguay).

Women's Ballon d'Or:

Kadidiatou Diani (Paris Saint-Germain/France), Fran Kirby (Chelsea/England), Jennifer Hermoso (Barcelona/Spain) Christiane Endler (Olympique Lyon/Chile), Christine Sinclair (Thorns FC/Canada), Ashley Lawrence (Paris Saint-Germain/Canada), Irene Paredes (Paris Saint-Germain/Barcelona/Spain), Jessie Fleming (Chelsea/Canada), Lieke Martens (Barcelona/Netherlands), Sandra Paños (Barcelona/Spain), Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal/Netherlands), Ellen White (Manchester City/England), Pernille Harder (Chelsea/Denmark), Sam Mewis (North Carolina Courage/United States), Wendie Renard (Olympique Lyon/France), Marie-Antoinette Katoto (Paris Saint-Germain/France), Stina Blackstenius (Hacken/Sweden), Magdalena Eriksson (Chelsea/Sweden), Sam Kerr (Chelsea/Australia), Alexia Putellas (Barcelona/Spain).

Yashin Trophy:

Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid/Belgium), Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan/Paris Saint-Germain/Italy), Ederson (Manchester City/Brazil), Édouard Mendy (Chelsea/Senegal), Samir Handanovic (Inter Milan), Emiliano Martínez (Aston Villa/Argentina), Keylor Navas (Paris Saint-Germain/Costa Rica), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich/Germany), Jan Oblak (Atlético Madrid/Slovenia), Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City/Denmark).

Kopa Trophy:

Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund/England), Jeremy Doku (Rennes/Belgium), Ryan Gravenberch (Ajax/Netherlands), Mason Greenwood (Manchester United/England), Nuno Mendes (Paris Saint-Germain/Portugal), Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich/Germany), Pedri (Barcelona/Spain), Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund/USA), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal/England), Florian Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen/Germany).