- Earlier this year, France Football announced four fundamental changes to the most significant individual award, the Ballon d’Or.
- Voting for the Ballon d’Or winner is now based on the players’ individual performances rather than the calendar
- The value of trophies has been reduced, with the prize reflecting the best players from every season instead of those who win the most trophies.
In 2021 Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or award for the seventh time
Despite the controversy and critiques, the Ballon d’Or remains the most significant incredible achievement in world soccer, and the race to win it in 2022 is nearly over.
France Football reported in March that the Ballon d’Or voting rules had changed, with the main issue being that the award will now focus on individual performances over one season instead of a calendar year.
This implies that the 2022 World Cup performances will not be considered this year but will instead be taken into account when the 2023 Ballon d’Or voting begins.
The value of trophies also has been reduced, with the prize reflecting the best players from every season instead of those who win the most trophies.
So who is likely to take home the Ballon d’Or race as it nears its conclusion?
1. KARIM BENZEMA- REAL MADRID
47 goals, 15 assists in 2021-22. Won the La Liga, the UEFA Nations League, and the Supercopa de Espana.
Benzema was unable to add to his goal total count after going back to the Madrid starting lineup for the final league game of the season.
Still, during the second half of the Champions League, he secured his best for the tournament and should be projected to strike in Paris on Saturday.
2. SADIO MANE- LIVERPOOL
In 2021-22, he had 29 goals and five assists. Won the Africa Cup of Nations, the FA Cup, and the Carabao Cup.
Sadio Mane scored again as Liverpool finished their league season, and primacy bias, mixed with his international success.
This means he is one of the players likely to steal the Ballon d’Or from the probability favourite in the last week of the European club season.
3. MOHAMED SALAH -LIVERPOOL
Mohamed Salah. Photo: EurosportIn 2021-22, Salah had 33 goals and 19 assists. Won the Carabao and the FA Cup
Mohamed Salah, the joint-top scorer and the soccer player with the most assists in the Premier League in the 2021/22 season, has had a memorable season, even if most of his highlights occurred before the New Year.
He can still win the Champions League.
4. ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI- BAYERN MUNICH
In 2021-22, he will have 56 goals and 11 assists. Won the Bundesliga and the DFL-Supercup.
After a prolonged time, Lewandowski has so far put his feet up, even as his agent is working hard to get him out of Munich.
Talks with Barcelona are underway, but a transfer to Camp Nou is unlikely to be simple.
5. KYLIAN MBAPPE- PSG
In 2021-22, he had 48 goals and 31 assists. Ligue one, and he won both the UEFA Nations League.
So, Mbappe will remain at PSG for another three years, and he celebrated by scoring a hat-trick in the final match of the Ligue 1 against Metz in Ligue 1
Staying in Paris must also allow Mbappe to continue scoring and assisting.
Still, it remains uncertain whether he can win enough on the continent to win his first Ballon d’Or while playing for Les Parisiens.
6. KEVIN DE BRUYNE- MAN CITY
20 goals, 18 assists in 2021-22. he won the Premier League
It should be unsurprising that De Bruyne, who was crowned Premier League Player of the Season, provided the assist for
Man City’s ownership goal, his low shot did turn in at the back post by Ilkay Gundogan.
7. VINICIUS JUNIOR- REAL MADRID
21 goals, 19 assists in 2021-22. Won La Liga and the Supercopa de Espana
Vinicius may benefit from Kylian Mbappe’s decision to reject Real Madrid and sign a new contract with Paris Saint-Germain. He seeks to become a more prominent figure in the Blancos’ attack.
8. LUCA MODRIC- REAL MADRID
Six goals and 14 assists in 2021-22. Won La Liga and the Supercopa de Espana
Modric is one of the Madrid players who warmed up for the Champions League final by playing against Real Betis in the final match of the Spanish Liga season.
9. PHIL FODEN- MAN CITY
14 goals, 15 assists in 2021-22. Won the Premier League
After helping Man City win another piece of domestic silverware, Foden is well on his way to being among the most celebrated footballers of all time, having won four Premier League titles before hitting 22nd years.
10. ALEXANDER -ARNOLD -LIVERPOOL
Two goals, 22 assists, and 24 clean sheets in 2021-22. Won the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup.
Alexander-Arnold missed the playmaker of the season award narrowly in the Premier League finishing with one assist behind teammate Mohamed Salah despite a tremendous season from the right-back.