Lionel Messi picks four potential Ballon d’Or winners.
Lionel Messi has named four players who he feels deserve to take his Ballon d’Or title this year.
The Argentine won his sixth Ballon d’Or at the end of 2019 and still retains it after the decision not to give out the award last year, due to the effect the pandemic had on the global game.
Having led Argentina to the Copa America this summer, Messi is among the favourites to win the prize again but according to the man himself, he has stiff competition.
In an interview with France Football, the organisers of the Ballon d’Or, Messi identified four players who could take his crown, including two of his current Paris Saint-Germain teammates, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
Lionel Messi: Benzema has been outstanding.
“Of course I have two players in my team that I would vote for: Ney and Kylian,” Messi said.
“After that, there are players at individual level who have played a great season, like Robert Lewandowski. There is also Karim Benzema, who has been outstanding.”
Lewandowski is a player who many feel missed out most from the decision not to award the Ballon d’Or last year.
The Polish striker was in prolific form for Bayern Munich during 2019/20, scoring 55 goals in all competitions as the club won the treble of the Champions League, the Bundesliga and the German Cup.
Despite that disappointment, he was recognised by Fifa as winner of The Best men’s player for 2020.
Ballon d’Or race heats up.
Lewandowski, Neymar, Mbappe and Benzema all join Messi on a 30-man shortlist for this year’s Ballon d’Or. The quintet are joined by 14 Premier League players, including Mohamed Salah, Mason Mount, Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden.
Messi’s long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo is also included, as are five of Italy’s Euro 2020-winning heroes – Gianluigi Donnarumma, Nicolo Barella, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini and Jorginho.
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Messi and Ronaldo have won the Ballon d’Or 11 times between them, with only Luka Modric’s 2018 win interrupting their 12-year spell of dominance.
The winner of this year’s Ballon d’Or will be announced on November 29th.