Lionel Messi appears to be the new favourite with bookmakers to win the Ballon d’Or, despite an underwhelming start to life at Paris Saint-Germain.
Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski looked to be the front-runner, but Messi - a record six-time winner of the individual prize - scored his first league goal for PSG at the weekend in a 3-1 win over Nantes in Ligue 1. Beyond his time in France, Messi has had a decent 2021.
The forward finally has a major honour at international level, having guided Argentina to the Copa America title in the summer. He was also the player who was holding things together for Barcelona during a disappointing 2020/21 campaign, but did manage to win the Copa del Rey for a seventh time before leaving the Catalan giants.
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Messi is 8/13 to win (odds as of November 24 - source: oddschecker), but has not yet hit the heights of previous years - Eurosport looks at the players who could stop him from winning the Ballon d’or for the seventh time.

Robert Lewandowski - odds: 6/5

Robert Lewandowski is one of the favourites for the Ballon d'Or

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The Bayern Munich striker has been in sublime form and up until recently, was the favourite to win the Ballon d’Or.
By getting the opening goal in Tuesday’s 2-1 win over Dynamo Kyiv this week, the Poland international became the first player to score in nine Champions League games in a row twice. He has the same number of goals in the competition this season and he is undoubtedly the most lethal striker in Europe right now.
Before we even reach December, Lewandowski has 30 goals in 25 games for club and country this season.

Lorenzo Insigne - odds: 33/1

Lorenzo Insigne helped Italy win Euro 2020

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It has been a very good year for the Napoli captain, as an inspirational figure in Italy’s run to win Euro 2020.
The pint-sized forward has never been prolific but he scored twice at the European Championship, including what turned out to be the key goal in a 2-1 win over Belgium in the quarter-finals.
It is what he offers all-round which is Insigne’s key quality and he is currently leading Napoli’s charge for the Serie A title.

Jorginho - odds: 28/1

Jorginho played a key role in Italy's Euro 2020 win and Chelsea's Champions League victory

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Another of Italy’s European champions, although he did miss a penalty in the shoot-out win over England - something he has been repeating for his country recently, having previously been infallible from the spot.
The midfielder has become a key part of Thomas Tuchel’s plans at Chelsea, regularly captaining the team, and he was influential in helping them win the Champions League with victory over Manchester City.

Jorginho: Ballon d'Or nomination is 'incredible'

Karim Benzema - odds: 22/1

Karim Benzema has been in superb form for Real Madrid

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There seems to be no indication that the striker is slowing down - and he is now a key part of the France team again, having been exiled since 2015 for his part in the sex tape blackmail scandal involving Mathieu Valbuena. He has now been given a one-year suspended prison sentence after he was found guilty of conspiring to blackmail.
As a result, Benzema has slipped down the list of favourites - but on the pitch, he has been in great form. The forward has 17 goals in 21 appearances for club and country this term, having netted 36 in 54 last season.

WHO IS NOMINATED FOR THE MEN’S 2021 BALLON D’OR?

  • Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
  • Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan)
  • Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
  • Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus)
  • Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
  • Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)
  • Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
  • Ruben Dias (Manchester City)
  • Gianluigi Donnarumma (Paris Saint-Germain)
  • Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
  • Phil Foden (Manchester City)
  • Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
  • Jorginho (Chelsea)
  • Harry Kane (Tottenham)
  • N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
  • Simon Kjaer (AC Milan)
  • Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
  • Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea)
  • Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)
  • Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan)
  • Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)
  • Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain)
  • Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
  • Gerard Moreno (Villarreal)
  • Mason Mount (Chelsea)
  • Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain)
  • Pedri (Barcelona)
  • Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
  • Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
  • Luis Suarez (Atletico Madrid)

WHO IS NOMINATED FOR THE WOMEN’S 2021 BALLON D’OR?

  • Kadidiatou Diani (PSG)
  • Fran Kirby (Chelsea)
  • Jennifer Hermoso (Barcelona)
  • Christiane Endler (Lyon)
  • Christine Sinclair (Thorns FC)
  • Ashley Lawrence (PSG)
  • Irene Paredes (PSG, Barcelona)
  • Jessie Fleming (Chelsea)
  • Lieke Martens (Barcelona)
  • Sandra Panos (Barcelona)
  • Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal)
  • Ellen White (Manchester City)
  • Pernille Harder (Chelsea)
  • Sam Mewis (North Carolina Courage)
  • Wendie Renard (Lyon)
  • Marie-Antoinette Katoto (PSG)
  • Stina Blackstenius (Hacken)
  • Magdalena Eriksson (Chelsea)
  • Sam Kerr (Chelsea)
  • Alexia Putellas (Barcelona)

When is the Ballon d'Or ceremony and how can I watch a livestream?

The award ceremony will take place at the Chatelet Theatre in Paris on November 29.
You can watch a free livestream of the 2021 Ballon d'Or ceremony on eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app on Monday night. Join us from 19:30-21:00 GMT as the best male and female players on the planet are crowned in Paris (stream available to UK users only)
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