Viral video of Messi's 15 goals from outside the box shows what an unbelievable 2021 he's had
Amazingly, 37% of the Paris Saint-Germain star's goals in 2021 have been scored from outside the boxThis year, the little maestro scored goals for fun to help keep Ronald Koeman's Barcelona afloat and was also the key man behind Argentina's Copa America triumph.
The Ballon d'Or is fast approaching and football fans are passionately debating who they think should be crowned the best male footballer of 2021. © GiveMeSport p1flehce0rc6u1o1hfuhif2qqri.jpg
Jorginho, N'Golo Kante and Cristiano Ronaldo are all in contention for the iconic prize, but there's a quiet understanding that Robert Lewandowski and Lionel Messi are now the top contenders.
Messi has been the bookmakers' favourite for a few months now with Argentina's Copa America triumph seemingly setting up the Paris Saint-Germain for a record-breaking seventh triumph.
Who would win the Ballon d'Or?
However, Lewandowski electrifying start to the season with 19 goals in just 25 games for Bayern Munich, combined with winning the European Golden Shoe, has made the call much more difficult.
Lionel Messi is the favourite to win 2021 Ballon d'Or as all 30 nominees are ranked
Messi, Benzema and Lewandowski are leading contenders to win the Ballon d'OrThe return of France Football's prestigious prize is now just a matter of hours away with supporters patiently waiting to see who will be crowned as the standout male footballer of 2021.
We won't know which of the two goalscoring machines - or, of course, an outside candidate - will take the prize until the gala on Monday, but that will only lead to more debate in the meantime.
And that's where Transfermarkt have stepped in brilliantly because they decided to host their own Ballon d'Or where the winner would be decided by the fans, only the fans and nothing but the fans.
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Fan vote on the Ballon d'Or
Using Instagram's poll feature, the revered data gurus created a knockout tree format where the top male performers across 2021 would go head-to-head to progress to their Ballon d'Or finale.
And now that all the votes have been collected and the winner has been revealed, let's take a walk through the tournament tree to see who the fans think should win the Ballon d'Or this year.
Ballon d'Or: Ballon d'Or: ceremony today at Live Scores
This evening in Paris the awarding of the Ballon d'Or will take place that honors the best player of the calendar year. Here you can follow the entire event in the Live Ticker. © Contributed by SPOX Lionel Messi won the last Ballon d'Or in 2019. Last year the trophy for the best player of the calendar year was not awarded. This year again the presentation of the Ballon d'Or will take place that distinguishes the best player of the current calendar year.
Round of 32
Bruno Fernandes defeats Giorgio Chiellini
Karim Benzema defeats Nicolò Barella
Kevin De Bruyne defeats Cesar Azpilicueta
Gianluigi Donnarumma defeats Ruben Dias
Erling Braut Haaland defeats Phil Foden
Harry Kane defeats Jorginho
Mohamed Salah defeats Leonardo Bonucci
Robert Lewandowski defeats Riyad Mahrez © Provided by Give Me Sport
Romelu Lukaku defeats Luka Modric
Kylian Mbappe defeats Lautaro Martinez
Pedri defeats Raheem Sterling
N'Golo Kante defeats Gerard Moreno
Neymar defeats Mason Mount
Luis Suarez defeats Simon Kjaer
Note: Messi and Ronaldo get a bye to the next round © Provided by Give Me Sport
Round of 16
Lionel Messi defeats Bruno Fernandes
Karim Benzema defeats Kevin De Bruyne
Erling Braut Haaland defeats Gianluigi Donnarumma
Mohamed Salah defeats Harry Kane
Robert Lewandowski defeats Romelu Lukaku
Kylian Mbappe defeats Pedri
Superstar Ronaldo rages against Ballon d'Or-boss
Paris. The Portuguese Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo responded to the co-founder of the balloon d'Or. He abused his name for cheap advertising, said the offensive player of Manchester United. © Oli Scarff Cristiano Ronaldo was mad at the interior of the balloon-d'or ceremony. The Portuguese Football Star Cristiano Ronaldo had sharpened on Monday before the ceremony for the balloon d'Or the co-organizer of the important football award.
N'Golo Kante defeats Neymar
Cristiano Ronaldo defeats Luis Suarez © Provided by Give Me Sport
Lionel Messi defeats Karim Benzema
Mohamed Salah defeats Erling Braut Haaland
Robert Lewandowski defeats Kylian Mbappe
Cristiano Ronaldo defeats N'Golo Kante © Provided by Give Me Sport
Mohamed Salah defeats Lionel Messi
Robert Lewandowski defeats Cristiano Ronaldo © Provided by Give Me Sport
Robert Lewandowski defeats Mohamed Salah © Provided by Give Me Sport
Ballon d'Or 2021: Date, UK Time, Odds, Nominees And Everything You Need To Know
Lewandowski takes the prize
Gosh. It really does feel like the tide is turning in Lewandowski's favour, doesn't it?
Not only did the Polish ace win the IFFHS player of the year and rise above Messi as the favourite for FIFA's 'The Best' award, but now he's the people's choice to take home the Ballon d'Or.
It's such a close run thing between Lewandowski and Messi that we're not going to argue with the consensus, but there are definitely some strange results further down the tournament tree.
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For starters, there's no chance that Salah should be finishing in second over Messi and although we don't think Jorginho should be on the podium, getting knocked out in the first round is far too harsh.
But no matter who you think should win the Ballon d'Or and in what order the runners-up should be placed, there's no denying that it's one of the closest races that we've seen in years. Bring it on. © Provided by Give Me Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo comments 'facts' on fan's rant claiming he deserved Ballon d'Or over Messi .
Ronaldo made his feelings clear about the 2021 Ballon d'Or result with a comment on InstagramThe Portuguese forward placed outside the top three for the first time since 2010.