Ballon d'Or 2021 Messi & Putellas: ceremony, winners, rankings and results
Ballon d'Or 2021: how the night unfolded
2021 Ballon d'Or awards: a summary
- Men's Ballon d'Or: Lionel Messi
- Women's Ballon d'Or: Alexia Putellas
- Yashin Trophy: Gianluigi Donnarumma
- Kopa Trophy: Pedri
- Striker of the Year: Robert Lewandowski
- Club of the Year: Chelsea FC
Messi picked up his seventh Ballon D’Or in Paris on Monday night – an achievement that may never be surpassed. We look at how many votes each candidate received.
We know the winners, but how much do you really know about the trophy itself?
We asked our Reem to dig into the shiny detail behind that golden ball.
A match made in seventh heaven
"It is incredible to be here again.
"Two years ago I didn't know what could happen and now it's my turn to be here again. Today it's my turn to be in Paris, I'm so happy.
"I really want to keep fighting for new challenges. I don't know how long I have left, but I hope it will be a long time because I love football.
"I want to thank all my teammates from Barça, PSG and Argentina. I had been missing something and this year it was the opposite. I was able to achieve the dream I wanted so much and this award is for what we did in the Copa América.
"It's a special night for me. It's an honour to fight with Lewandowski - you were the winner of last year's Ballon d'Or and France Football should give it to you. You were a fair winner, you should have it at home too."
7: Lionel Messi (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, 2021)
5: Cristiano Ronaldo (2008, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017)
Luka Modric may have interrupted this incredible duopoly that began in 2008, but one question on the lips of many is if today may have been the very end of it.
See you again next year to find out...
2021 Men's Ballon d'Or winner: Lionel Messi
A seventh Ballon d'Or for the Argentine genius. This year may not have been his most spectacular, and it's easy to make arguments about who may have deserved it more than him, but why don't we put those feelings behind us, realise it's all just a bit of fun, and enjoy the fact that we've been alive to watch possibly the greatest player ever to have lived.
Of course, let us not forget that Robert Lewandowski came in second as the winner was announced.
The tension now builds, who will be the winner of the Men's big prize?
2021 Club of the Year: Chelsea FC
That other 'bonus' award for tonight was for club of the year and it goes to the men's Champions League winners. With the women's side also impressing, the entire London club take the prize.
For the presentation, we dive into a big on-stage screen where Tuchel, Azpilicueta, Jorghino, Lukaka among others are there to say a few words.
Former Chelsea player Drogba is rather pleased with this award.
5th Kante, 4th Benzema and 3rd Jorginho
Two from Chelsea and one from Real Madrid as we count down to the final pair.
Our final five
Here they are alphabetically, but in what order will they come out in the voting?
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain)
We're about to find out...
2021 Yachine Trophy winner: Gianluigi Donnarumma
There was little doubt who was going to be taking this gong tonight after the Italian stopper came in at 10th on the overall list.
As I suggested earlier, it’s the award least likely to be dropped. What huge hands you have Gianluigi.
7th Salah, 6th Ronaldo
It's seventh place for Liverpool's unstoppable Mohamed Salah.
Many have pointed to the Egyptian King as a real contender for the number one spot here today. But voting, as we'll show you later, has a strange slant to it on these occasions.
Cristiano Ronaldo takes sixth position but many have questioned how he can be ranked above several of the outstanding 2021 performers lower down the list.
One reason could be the, somewhat questionable, guidance given to voters to remember a player's career as well as their performance in the last 11 months.
8th: De Bruyne
The Man City star collected another league title last season and continues to shine. He's been voted in at number 8.
Drogba now turns his attention to Denmark's Simon Kjaer in the crowd to thank him for his efforts during the horrific collapse of teammate Eriksen at the Euros.
An obvious warm round of applause is returned.
It's all rather emotional for the mother and sister of Alexia and they are invited up onto stage to hear her answer a deep, deep question from Drogba...
"Do you feel good?"
Awkwardly the Barça star responds with a "yes, very" before our host pushes the audience into bigger applause.
Is it just me that thinks we should use superstar presenters to do presenting rather than former superstar athletes?
2021 Women's Ballon d'Or winner: Alexia Putellas
We were expecting one of the Barça players to win this after a 2020/21 campaign in which they completed a Liga Iberdrola, Copa de la Reina and Champions League treble, and we weren't wrong.
Putellas has been a key figure in the Catalans’ current domination of the domestic and European game, scoring 26 times last season.
So far this season, the 27-year-old has averaged over a goal a game for Barcelona: 14 in 13. In August, Putellas was named UEFA Women’s Player of the Year for 2020/21.
She gives a confident speech in Spanish making all the right thanks to the right people. Now a mini-montage of her doing her thing in the blaugrana colours.
After being named at number nine, Mbappé is invited onto stage to present the award for the Women's Ballon d'Or.
It's almost like this has been finely tuned to flow smoothly, well, apart from the faux chemistry and banter being attempted by our lovely hosts.
Many have had him as the man to take over the global crown following the Messi-Ronaldo decade of dominance but more is still required from Kylian Mbappé to get there. He takes 9th here.
The coming year is going to be massive for him, as he almost certainly says au revoir and hola in quick succession.
The PSG stopper Gianluigi Donnarumma made it into the top ten, which is pretty damn impressive for a keeper.
His performances for the Italian national team were solid.
We're going to head back to the list of Men's players...
2021 Striker of the Year: Robert Lewandowski
Remember those two 'bonus' awards that were to be announced tonight. Well the first one, for the best striker of the year, goes to the Bayern Munich net-bulger.
Some cynics out there have suggested that this new award may be a nice way to ensure Lewy, who almost everyone believes should have taken the main prize last year, gets up on stage.
What it almost guarantees is that someone else will be getting the big one in a short while.
Gone but not forgotten
From celebration of a young star, we now focus on a couple of greats of the Beautiful Game that have been lost since the last award ceremony: Diego Maradona and Gert Müller.
Tributes from Messi and Lewandowski intertwined with video clips of the legends. The Polish striker is asked about his feelings when he reached Müller's scoring record...which may be a perfect link. Let's see...
2021 Kopa Trophy winner: Pedri
With very little time to prepare, we immediately get the envelope open and the Italian defender announced that Barcelona's young Golden Boy is the winner of the Kopa Trophy.
What a start for the kid. Plenty now to build on.
We are now treated to a nice montage of his best bits.
When defenders could win this award.
Fabio Cannavaro steps up onto the stage and is asked about the time he won the 2006 Ballon d'Or...and made slightly embarrassed with a topless Vanity Fair cover of him.
The humour here is not going to work for everyone.
The Ballons d'Or - two of them anyway - have arrived. That video clip I shared with you below had two helmeted drivers bringing them in.
The big unveil, it's F1's Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon.
The chat now educates us on the footballing interest and abilities of the two drivers. Mixed, is the best word.
Drogba then thanks the two men with a Spanish and French national team shirt, respectively. Before handing them over he heads down to the star-studded front row to with a pen and a clear objective.
More Drogba love here as we all get to watch a few clips of him doing what he used to do for fun, scoring goals.
It's worth pointing out that most of the friendly banter between the two presenters thus far has been in the local languange. Not sure how many of those watching understand.
Drogba says we're on
This year's ceremony is being hosted by Chelsea legend Didier Drogba along with French journalist Sandy Heribert.
After some introductions in English and French, a part of which acknowledged the absence of last year, the former African star says we are "ouverte."
Everyone is in, it's almost time
The red carpets interviews and photos appear to now be complete.
Everyone has taken their seat. Let's get on with the business in hand...
Lionel Messi is in the house
Well, he's in this fancy hotel but given his domination of the award - yes, yes, someone else has done quite well too in recent years - he may start to call it his home.
Here is the Barça legend, now trying to make history by helping PSG to the Champions League title, arriving for the show.
Ballon d'Or: Top 10
If you've been with me for the last couple of hours then you'll have watched the names of those nominations being teasingly drip fed to us by France Football from 30 down to 11.
What that does mean is that our final 10 places are known, just not in what order. The remaining names are:
Lionel Messi, Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah, Kylian Mbappé, Karim Benzema, N'Golo Kanté, Jorginho, Gianluigi Donnaruma, Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo
Barcelona's golden stars
Among those representing FC Barcelona tonight, Pedri González and Lieke Martens, the latter of whom has a real shot at the Women's main award.
Balague shows off red carpet
The Spaniard gives you a little selfie video showing some sights of a very cold Paris and also provides his reasons for his choice to win the Men's main award.
One of his arguments for this is that a player's 'career' is in the guidance for voters to take into account.
Follow that car
A Parisien car ride for those globes of gold. Whose hands will they end up in?
For your info, there is plenty of red carpet activity going on. Big Lewy just arrived with a huge smile on his face and created an even bigger one by signing his name on a young lad's piece of paper. True gent!
Chelsea: a golden shade of blue
Depending on how much weight you give to these individual awards, Chelsea's contribution cannot be understated.
Look at this fine list of candidates.
Ronaldo calls out Ballon d'Or "lies"
In case you were hoping to see the Manchester United forward in his glad rags, I can confirm that this will not be happening, at least not in these awards.
Cristiano earlier announced that he would not be attending, and many jumped to the conclusion that he would be gutted to see Lionel Messi win yet another golden trophy.
Pascal Ferre, the editor in chief of France Football had claimed Ronaldo had revealed to him his only career goal was to win more Ballons d'Or than the Argentine.
"Today's outcome explains why 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 Ballons d'Or than Lionel Messi.
"Pascal Ferre lied, he used my name to promote himself and to promote the publication he works for.
"It is unacceptable that the person responsible for awarding such a prestigious prize could lie in this way, in absolute disrespect for someone who has always respected France Football and the Ballon d'Or.
"And he lied again today, justifying my absence from the Gala with an alleged quarantine that has no reason to exist."
Ronaldo sends message to winners
"I always want to congratulate those who win, within the sportsmanship and fair-play that have guided my career since the beginning, and I do it because I'm never against anyone.
"I always win for myself and for the clubs I represent, I win for myself and for those who love me. I don't win against anyone.
"The biggest ambition of my career is to win national and international titles for the clubs I represent and for the national team in my country.
"The biggest ambition of my career is to be a good example for all those who are or want to be professional footballers.
"The biggest ambition of my career is to leave my name written in golden letters in the history of world football.
"I will end by saying that my focus is already on Manchester United's next game and on everything that, together with my team-mates and our fans, we can still achieve this season.
"The rest? The rest is just the rest…"
One player that, for once, has not got much attention when discussing tonight's award is Cristiano Ronaldo.
As we now know, he is in the top ten places of most votes - c'mon, a lot of those chosen to pick don't actually pay much attention to who is performing well across 11 months - but unless there is a major surprise, the Portuguese living legend will have to make do with what he's got.
It's a decent haul.
Goalscoring record destroyer Erling Haaland has made it into 11th place.
Expect that position to improve over the next couple of years.
Paris class awaits
The scene is set at the Théâtre du Châtelet as players, dignitaries and a select few others get ready to slum it for another night.
After starring explosively for Inter Milan and Belgium, the striker was brought back to Stamford Bridge in the summer, seen as the final piece in the Tuchel jigsaw to leap ahead of recent Premier League top dogs, Man City and Liverpool.
It's been a decent start for Romelu Lukaku and I'd suggest there's plenty more to come.
Well isn't that nice? Giorgio Chiellini coming in right next to his long-time defensive partner Bonucci.
Later we'll bring you the actual voting numbers and we can see just how close the two were.
Are you happy with the order thus far? Let me know using the 'COMMENTS' button at the top right of this blog.
At number 14 is The Old Lady's old man, Leonardo Bonucci.
If we, like the voters clearly, put his Juventus efforts this calendar year to one side, his heroics in the summer helped Italy win the delayed Euro 2020, beating main hosts England in a Wembley final.
Another Manchester City player takes his place in the list, as we begin the second half of the Men's rankings.
Raheem Sterling, at number 15, has sparkled at times for both Guardiola's slickers and Southgate's sluggers (is that too unfair?). Consistency has been lacking at times for the winger, but his accolades and popularity will have helped him get votes.
Some reports have him heading out of the Etihad in January.
As these awards are taking place, Brazilian superstar Neymar - who comes in at 16 - is nursing his latest injury, a nasty knock to his ankle at the weekend.
Early reports suggest he is likely to miss between six and eight weeks for PSG, but I suppose that may make picking the attacking players a little easier for Pochettino!
Uruguay's Luis Suárez splits opinion, although much of that - as per my earlier comment about voting - can come down to which team you support.
His 2021 has been the first full calendar year at Atlético Madrid, after six years, four league titles, four cups, a Champions League and 198 goals for rivals Barcelona. As it turned out, it was a rather smart move.
Milan and Denmark's Simon Kjaer is voted in at number 18.
Many will remember the images of him comforting Cristian Eriksen's wife when he collapsed on the pitch during the Euros.
The Chelsea man has been a revelation for both club and country. Incredibly, he has come in at position 19th - his shirt number being 19, his first team debut coming in 2019 and the Scrabble total value of the letters in his name being 19.
I'm calling a fix right here!!
2021 Kopa trophy contenders
And let's not forget the stars of the future...to be fair to them, many are already stars of today, just with fewer wrinkles!
Here they are...
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)
Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund/USA)
Bukayo Saka (Arsenal/England)
Florian Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen/Germany).
2021 Yashin trophy contenders
Much of the focus thus far has been on the bigger countdown, but don't forget that there are other shiny awards getting handed out in a while.
If you're going to put your money on one trophy that won't be dropped tonigtht, it's this one!
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).
Another star of the Premier League, Riyad Mahrez, comes in at number 20.
After joining Man City from title-shocking Leicester, he has consistently delivered for Pep Guardiola. The biggest compliment I can give him is that even on a relatively quiet day for him he still tends to impress.
21st: Martínez and Fernandes
Inter Milan's Lautaro Martínez and Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes are next to be announced, jointly taking 21st place.
The latter shone in 2020 for the Premier League side but has had a more difficult 2021. Still a class act.
One of the questions we've been asked most in recent days is how these Ballon d'Or awards compare to the FIFA Best ones.
So, in our usual helpful fashion, we knocked up a little article explaining all you need to know. You're welcome!
Share your opinion
You may have spotted a little 'COMMENT' button at the top right of this blog.
When you click on that it magically opens up a portal for you to share your opinion on the awards with the world.
Balague picks Messi
The Spanish journalist makes his case for the Argentine extending his award collection.
23rd: Harry Kane
The Spurs and England striker is next in the countdown.
Kane scored 23 goals and provided 14 assists across last season in the Premier League as banging one in for his country in all but one of their 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
Is this to make up for last year's non-event? Could it actually be for the best players of 2020?
It's an unexpected tease from France Football, the answer to which we'll find out soon...
Ilkay Gundogan picks Lewandowski
Speaking with Punditarena, the Manchester City midfielder gave his choice:
“I think I would go with Lewandowski, to be honest.
“I played with him in Dortmund so I kind of know directly how great a player he is, how dedicated he is, also, to his work.
“The fact that last year there was no Ballon d’Or winner and he probably would have deserved it last year.”
Just like Foden, Pedri has been touted for true greatness after the past year. Barcelona have had some well documented issues of late but one shining star has been the youngster that recently picked up the Golden Boy award for 2021.
Manchester City's Phil Foden has taken the game by storm in the last couple of seasons and there are more than a few out there that think he'll be way, way up this list in the coming years.
26th: Barella, Dias and Moreno
In joint 26th place we have three players: Nicolò Barella, Rúben Dias and Gerard Moreno.
29th: Modric and Azpilicueta
Joint 29th place goes to Real Madrid Ballon d'Or winner of just a couple of years ago, Luka Modric, and he shares it with Chelsea's Spanish defender, César Azpilicueta.
OK, as I said earlier, the countdown is starting well before the suits and dresses arrive. And the first ones are arriving now...
Ballon d'Or: have your say
Jump into this tweet and leave your definitive choice for who most deserves to win a golden football tonight.
Disclaimer: your vote will have no bearing on the result!!
While Lewandowski is yet to win the award - but would surely have claimed the trophy had it not been cancelled in 2020 - Messi is chasing a record seventh Ballon d’Or.
The 34-year-old, who left Barcelona for PSG in the summer, was the recipient of the most recent Men’s Ballon d’Or in 2019, having also picked up the accolade in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.
Click on the image above to find out more about the winners of the past of the Men's and Women's award.
2021 Women's Ballon d'Or favourites
The holder of the women’s award, USWNT's Megan Rapinoe, isn’t even among the nominees this year, with all-conquering Barcelona looking likeliest to supply the next recipient of the Women’s Ballon d’Or.
Here are our chosen few...
Barcelona players dominate the list of the favourites for the Women’s Ballon d’Or, after a 2020/21 campaign in which the Blaugrana completed a Liga Iberdrola, Copa de la Reina and Champions League treble. A key figure in the Catalans’ current domination of the domestic and European game is Putellas, who scored 26 times for Barça last term, including a first-half penalty in the 4-0 Champions League final demolition of Chelsea. So far this season, the 27-year-old has averaged over a goal a game for Barcelona: 14 in 13. In August, Putellas was named UEFA Women’s Player of the Year for 2020/21.
Hermoso was the top scorer in the Liga Iberdrola last season, her 31 league goals firing Barcelona to a second straight Spanish title. It was the third year running that Hermoso had topped the goal charts in Spain’s elite division. The 31-year-old was also joint-top scorer in the 2020/21 Champions League, her six European goals seeing her share the golden boot with Chelsea’s Fran Kirby. In 11 appearances for Barça thus far this term, Hermoso has plundered nine goals.
Yet another Barça player among the chief contenders for the Women’s Ballon d’Or, Martens scored 20 in 36 for the Catalans during their treble-winning season in 2020/21, and starred in the Copa de la Reina final win over Levante and Champions League final hammering of Chelsea. Named The Best FIFA Women’s Player and UEFA’s Women’s Player of the Year in 2017, the 28-year-old netted four times for the Netherlands at this summer’s Olympics, and has nine goals in 12 for Barcelona in 2021/22.
Kirby hit 16 goals for Chelsea as the Blues won the Women’s Super League in 2020/21, as well as providing 11 assists. The England international was also the joint-leading scorer in the Champions League, scoring six times for Chelsea as the West Londoners finished as runners-up following a final thumping by Barcelona in Gothenburg.
Kerr grabbed a division-high 21 goals in Chelsea’s triumphant Women’s Super League campaign last season, before netting six times for Australia as the Matildas finished fourth at the Tokyo Olympics, having been pipped to a medal by the United States in a 4-3 thriller in the bronze-medal match. This season, the 28-year-old has been in even better scoring form for Chelsea, racking up 13 goals in 12 games in all competitions so far.
2021 Men's Ballon d'Or favourites
No doubt you'll already have made your choice, based on your criteria, how much you've seen of each player... and more than likely with some club or country bias thrown in for good measure.
By all accounts - we have some decent sources in France - the winner tonight will come from one of these fine players...
Despite his slow start at Paris Saint-Germain, where he has mustered just one Ligue 1 goal, Lionel Messi is, together with Robert Lewandowski, the chief favourite. Messi’s 30 LaLiga goals almost dragged a seriously ropey Barcelona team to the Spanish title last season, while his brace helped the Blaugrana to victory over Athletic Club in April’s 2021 Copa del Rey final. The 34-year-old then ended his international trophy hoodoo with Argentina at this summer’s Copa América, winning player of the tournament and finishing as joint-top scorer as the Albiceleste beat hosts Brazil in the final to lift their first major trophy since 1993.
Lewandowski was the major victim of the cancellation of the 2020 Ballon d’Or. Having scored 55 goals in all competitions to lead Bayern Munich to a Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League treble in 2019/20, the striker would surely have added the France Football accolade to his 2020 Best FIFA Men’s Player and 2019/20 UEFA Men’s Player of the Year awards. Last season, the Pole finished with 48 goals for Bayern as the Bavarians won their ninth straight German title, and he already has another 25 to his name this term.
Benzema is in the form of his life for Real Madrid. Having hit 30 goals in all competitions for Madrid last season, he is currently on 15 in 17 for Los Blancos this term and, other than perhaps Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, there is no more impressive performer in the men’s game right now. The striker has also scored nine times for France already since his return to the international fold in June, including four at Euro 2020. Benzema had been in exile from Les Bleus for six years over his part in the Mathieu sex-tape affair, for which a French court convicted him of attempted blackmail on Wednesday.
A European champion with Chelsea and Italy in 2021, Jorginho scooped UEFA’s Men’s Player of the Year award for 2020/21 after pulling the strings from midfield in both trophy triumphs. The 29-year-old also helped Chelsea to UEFA Super Cup success in August, and has been pivotal once more for the Blues as Thomas Tuchel’s men have established themselves as major challengers for this season’s Premier League title.
Salah has been at the peak of his powers this season, scoring 17 goals in 18 games in all competitions so far for Liverpool - a haul that includes a club-record run of netting in 10 consecutive matches for the Reds. And while Liverpool endured a difficult, injury-plagued campaign in 2020/21, Salah still managed an excellent return of 31 goals. The Egyptian’s step-up this term from excellent to breathtaking has probably come too late for him to beat the likes of Messi and Lewandowski to the 2021 Ballon d’Or, though.
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
But what happens with the other awards and what factors are taken into consideration? Find out by clicking on the image above.
2021 Women's Ballon d'Or nominees: full list
Kadidiatou Diani (Paris Saint-Germain)
Fran Kirby (Chelsea)
Jennifer Hermoso (Barcelona)
Christiane Endler (Olympique Lyon)
Christine Sinclair (Thorns FC)
Ashley Lawrence (Paris Saint-Germain)
Irene Paredes (Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona)
Jessie Fleming (Chelsea)
Lieke Martens (Barcelona)
Sandra Paños (Barcelona)
Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal)
Ellen White (Manchester City)
Pernille Harder (Chelsea)
Sam Mewis (North Carolina Courage)
Wendie Renard (Olympique Lyon)
Marie-Antoinette Katoto (Paris Saint-Germain)
Stina Blackstenius (Hacken)
Magdalena Eriksson (Chelsea)
Sam Kerr (Chelsea)
Alexia Putellas (Barcelona).
2021 Men's Ballon d'Or nominees: full list (current club)
Gianluigi Donnarumma (Paris Saint-Germain)
Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)
Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus)
César Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
Rúben Días (Manchester City)
Nicolò Barella (Inter Milan)
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
Phil Foden (Manchester City)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
Harry Kane (Tottenham)
N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea)
Simon Kjaer (AC Milan)
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea)
Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)
Lautaro Martínez (Inter Milan)
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Kylian Mbappé (Paris Saint-Germain)
Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain)
Gerard Moreno (Villarreal)
Mason Mount (Chelsea)
Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain)
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
Luis Suárez (Atlético Madrid).
Ballon d'Or: the venue
Today's ceremony is being held, as it was two years ago, at the Théâtre du Châtelet in France's seductive capital city, Paris.
Although the red carpet action doesn't get underway until a little later, very soon France Football magazine will begin to reveal the names of the rankings in reverse order.
Claiming their prize
I'll get to the candidates for this year's awards in a moment but, as a reminder since covid cancelled the 2020 edition, here are three recent winners taking their golden moment of glory.
Ballon d'Or 2021: welcome
Hello and a very warm welcome on this chilly day in Europe as we await news of who will win the Men's and Women's Ballon d'Or award for 2021.
As well as the two main awards, we will also see the winner announced for both the Kopa Trophy (best player under the age of 21) and the Yachine Trophy (best goalkeeper).
Stay with me for the next few hours as we enjoy together the long drawn out process of counting down to the winners and most people then get to share in a feeling of indignation. Let's start the build up...