Lionel Messi landed his seventh Ballon d’Or crown in 2021, capping off another excellent year for the 34-year-old, who most recently won a significant tournament with Argentina at Copa America. Messi will undoubtedly be in contention once again for Europe’s leading prize next year, however, here are four other players who will surely have a great chance of winning the award.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo has been in excellent form since his return to Manchester United. The 36-year-old is proving that age is no barrier having scored 12 goals in his opening 17 games, in what is his second spell at Old Trafford.

United signed Ronaldo with the aim to win big trophies again as the Portuguese striker has won the Champions League five times and is well-versed with the international stage. He was involved in one of the greatest Champions League finals in history when Real Madrid defeated rivals Atletico Madrid in 2014 and has also lifted Europe’s premier trophy for the Red Devils in 2008.

If successful in 2022, Ronaldo will be the second oldest winner of the award of all time behind Stanley Matthews.

2. Mohamed Salah

Mohammed Salah

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah is the leading goalscorer in the Premier League this season. He has scored 13 goals from his opening 15 games in the league during the 2021/22 campaign. Evidently, the Egypt international has been at the top of his game and he is doing a great job of putting his side in the title race.

Salah will be in action for Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations early in 2022. If he is able to shine at that tournament, it could really help him when it comes to the Ballon d’Or vote as no African player has won the award since George Weah in 1995. In terms of accolade, the Liverpool forward has won the PFA Players of the Year, but he has yet to finish in the top three in the Ballon d’Or rankings.

3. Robert Lewandowski

Polish striker Robert Lewandowski is very unfortunate not to have won the Ballon d’Or over the last years. In his last two full campaigns for Bayern Munich, he has scored 55 and 48 goals, respectively. He has also made a fantastic start this season, hitting the back of the net 27 times in 21 games.

Lewandowski could be on course for his best season yet, so another record-breaking campaign may just see him lift the trophy for the first time. This year’s runner-up in the Ballon d’Or received 33 points less than Messi.

4. Jorginho

2021 has been a brilliant year for Jorginho. He was a big part of Chelsea’s success in the Champions League back in May where they defeated Manchester City in the final in Madrid. The midfielder then helped his country prevail at Euro 2020.

The Italian was recognized for his consistent form by finishing third in this year’s Ballon d’Or. The 29-year-old is now considered one of the best midfielders in world football. If Chelsea has another big season with Jorginho standing out, he could pick up the most points next year.

5. Karim Benzema

Karim Benzema

The Real Madrid forward has already scored 12 goals and assisted 7 in La Liga so far this season. He even has 5 goals in five appearances at the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League. Real Madrid are currently top of the La Liga table, and have been in terrific form. The Frenchman finished in fourth place at the 2021 Ballon d’Or, but is already a serious contender for the 2022 Ballon d’Or.

6. Bernardo Silva

Bernardo Silva contenders For The Ballon d'Or 2022

Bernardo Silva has been a key player for Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. The Portuguese has cemented his place as one of the best midfielders in the world. He has been crucial to Man City’s superb form this season, and is gradually emerging as a key contender for the Ballon d’Or soon.

7. Kylian Mbappé

Kylian Mbappé

PSG might not be in the best form, but Kylian Mbappé is having a pretty decent season so far. The Frenchman recently broke Messi’s record to become youngest player to reach 30 Champions League goals this season. At the time of this writing, he has 7 goal and 8 assists in Ligue 1 this season, while adding a further 4 goals in the UCL. If Paris Saint-Germain manages to win the UCL and Ligue this season, Kylian Mbappé would be a amongst the Ballon d’Or contenders in 2022.

 

With so many great players at the top of their games, it should be a fascinating battle for the Ballon d’Or award in 2022.

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