The Ballon d’Or is an exciting award, but since 2008 it has been a competition between Messi and Cristiano, interrupted only once by Luka Modric. This season is different, with the Argentinian and the Portuguese not performing well enough at clubs to be remembered. In addition, a bright new generation is in a hurry to make their mark. There are so many excellent players that we want to acknowledge the obvious contenders for the award and the players who deserve to receive it in the coming years, especially if they keep playing at the same level.
Gianluigi Donnarumma (Paris Saint-Germain)
Accomplishments in 2021: 20 clean sheets. Won Euro 2020.
Let’s be objective: A goalkeeper winning the Ballon d’Or would be a miracle. It is not for nothing that the organizers of the 2019 awards have established a separate prize, the Lev Yashin Award. It is named after the only goalkeeper to win the Ballon d’Or in 1963.
Donnarumma, on the other hand, is sure to reclaim a place in the starting line-up from Keylor Navas, PSG’s current number one goal, shortly. Thankfully, he finished with a clean sheet in his debut game against Manchester City, which was a profitable bet at any gambling operator on bookmaker ratings.
The biggest question is how much time the UEFA EURO 2020 winner will need to play as a starter constantly.
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
Accomplishments in 2021: 11 goals, ten assists. Won the Premier League & Carabao Cup.
Challenges for Barcelona and Juventus this year: Learning to play without Messi and Ronaldo. De Bruyne’s figure may not seem iconic for world football, but the Belgian has undoubtedly become one for Manchester City and Pep Guardiola.
At the start of the year, Kevin missed a whole month due to injury. Only İlkay Gündoğan’s efficiency and the coach’s clever changes helped City close out the lack of a critical player and stay in the championship race. In the Champions League final, unfortunately, De Bruyne’s injury could not be compensated for. Hopefully, in the new season, the Belgian playmaker can break an unfortunate tradition for himself.
Federico Chiesa (Juventus)
Accomplishments in 2021: 16 goals, five assists. Won Euro 2020, Coppa Italia & Supercoppa Italiana.
Juventus’ squad looks decent enough by name. But while the defence and midfield look well-staffed, there is a bit of a vacuum in attack with Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure. Coach Massimiliano Allegri knows the team well, but he can hardly rely on the unstable Morata and Dybala to create chances and score goals.
Here, the young Federico Chiesa will have to show leadership and help the team in a difficult period. On the other hand, the player will get more creative freedom and opportunities to step up and move up the table.
Harry Kane (Tottenham)
Accomplishments in 2021: 32 goals, five assists.
The Englishman had an excellent UEFA EURO 2020, reaching the final with his national side. Their partnership with Sung-Hyun-Min has become one of the most prolific in the Premier League, with Kane himself joining a unique club. Harry is now one of only six players to have been a top assistant and won the Golden Boot in a single PL season.
This autumn did not go according to plan: instead of starting at Manchester City, the Englishman had to stay at Tottenham and has not yet managed to find his form. Therefore, unfortunately, his chances of winning the award are not high at all.
Ruben Dias (Manchester City)
Accomplishments in 2021: One goal, four assists, 30 clean sheets. Won the Premier League & Carabao Cup.
Pep Guardiola, Manchester City coach, has long looked for a balance in his defence. Ruben Dias appears to have become a vital link in his formation, with the player winning the Premier League Player of the Season last year and winning the league title in large part due to him.
When the Portuguese defender is injured and Ake replaces him, the importance of his personality to the defensive line becomes apparent.
Dias is one of the most important players for Pep Guardiola and deservedly gets his reward in the Premier League. It will hardly surprise anyone if he finishes this year in the top ten contenders for the Ballon d’Or.