30 players, 20 players competing

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Lionel Messi, six times crowned, Kylian Mbappé, Neymar or Karim Benzema are in the list of 30 nominees for the men’s Ballon d’Or. On the women’s side, the 2019 winner, American Megan Rapinoe, eliminated in the quarterfinals at the Tokyo Olympics, is not among the nominees unlike Canadian Christine Sinclair, Olympic champion.

The weekly France Football unveiled, Friday 8 October, the list of 30 players and 20 players named for the Ballon d’Or 2021, after a year 2020 without winners due to competitions truncated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The star recruit of Paris Saint-Germain Lionel Messi, six times sacred, winner of the Copa America this summer with Argentina, rubs shoulders in the list his club teammates Kylian Mbappé and Neymar, semi-finalists of the C1. Winner of the Champions League with Chelsea, crowned European champion with Italy and already crowned UEFA player of the year, midfielder Jorginho is obviously present. His French teammate N’Golo Kanté, named man of the match in the semifinals and final of C1, is also on the list.

Five-time winner of the trophy and third in 2019, Cristiano Ronaldo does not miss the call and finds at his side his former teammate of Real Madrid Karim Benzema, centerpiece of the Merengues and back at the Blues. On the other hand, Antoine Griezmann, another striker of the French team, is not on the list.

Also present are Bayern Munich’s Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, European Golden Boot (41 goals) and Dortmund’s Norwegian striker Erling Haaland, C1’s top scorer (10 goals). Just like England’s Harry Kane, Mason Mount, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling, Euro finalists. Danish defender Simon Kjaer, semi-finalist of the Euro, slips into the 30.

Three French women among the nominees

In the women’s category, the 2019 winner, the American Megan Rapinoe, eliminated in the quarterfinals at the Tokyo Olympics, is not among the nominees, unlike Canadian Christine Sinclair, Olympic champion.

FC Barcelona, winner of the women’s C1, is present in force, including Alexia Putellas, already crowned UEFA player of the year and Jennifer Hermoso, top scorer tied C1.

Three French women are on the list: Lyon and Les Bleues captain Wendie Renard, and Parisiennes Marie-Antoinette Katoto and Kadidiatou Diani, French champions and semi-finalists of the Champions League.

In addition, ten goalkeepers will compete for the Yachine Trophy. Among them are PSG goalkeepers Gianluigi Donnarumma, European champion with Italy (also in the Ballon d’Or list), and Costa Rican Keylor Navas, as well as Senegalese Édouard Mendy, winner of the C1 with Chelsea.

Spain’s Pedri, England’s Jude Bellingham, Mason Greenwood and Bukayo Saka, Germany’s Jamal Musiala, Belgium’s Jérémy Doku (Rennes) and Portugal’s Nuno Mendes (PSG) are among the contenders for the Kopa Trophy, which rewards the best player under the age of 21.

Nominated by a panel of international journalists, these prestigious trophies will be awarded on November 29 at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.

With AFP

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