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10 Players In Running For 2021 Ballon D'Or

With the 2021 Ballon d'Or ceremony only a few months away, here are the 10 players believed to be in the running to win the prestigious individual prize, although it is Lionel Messi who is tipped as the clear favourite.

Click through the gallery above to see 10 stars in the running for the 2021 Ballon d'Or.

While the ceremony is likely to only take place in December this year, it is expected that a 30-man shortlist for the 2021 Ballon d'Or award be will be named sometime during October.

Although that list will be made up of many of the world's biggest names like it is every year, there will be only a few that stand out as real contenders for the accolade that France Football decided to not hand out in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski was widely tipped as the man to win the prize last year, with many feeling the ex-Borussia Dortmund attacker was hard done by following the award-makers' decision to cancel it.

Despite his disappointing 2020 UEFA European Championship campaign with Poland, the 32-year-old is likely to be among the high-profile names competing for the prize this year, although even he is seemingly resigned to the fact that Messi's 2021 Copa America exploits will make the Argentine the outright favourite.

According to The Sportsman, Lewandowski recently said: "After what happened at the Copa America tournament, I think it's going to even harder for me to the win the Ballon d'Or award. But I won't mind losing it to the best player of all time."

Below was how Messi celebrated winning the Copa America: 

Although he lifted only the Copa del Rey trophy in 2021 with Barcelona heading into the continental tournament, Messi, 34, boosted his chances of lifting the Ballon d'Or a seventh time with his heroics at the South American showpiece.

Not only did he lift the trophy and was named Player of the Tournament, but he also won the top goalscorer award and finished the competition as the top assist provider, becoming the first player in history to achieve all four of those things at the same international tournament.

Furthermore, the out-of-contract Barca captain has contributed to more goals (47) than anybody else in Europe's top five leagues so far in this calendar year.

Moving on, Chelsea and Italy midfielder Jorginho has been tipped to be a, perhaps surprise, challenger for the award, having claimed both the UEFA Champions League and Euro 2020 trophies in 2021.

Speaking recently about his chances, he told SporTV that "it depends on the criteria that the decision is based on. If we're talking about talent, then I know I'm not the best in the world. But if it's going on titles, then nobody has won more than I have this season."

High-profile superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe are also expected to be among the final 10, with the latter having not finished outside the top seven since he burst on to the scene at Monaco in the 2016/17 season.

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Italy shot-stopper Gianluigi Donnarumma could be in with an outside chance given his outstanding Euro 2020 campaign, while Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane might very well end up as the highest-ranking Englishman when it is all said and done.

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