Ballon d’Or winner: Messi, Lewandowski, Ronaldo – The biggest names in football have their say
Later this month, we will win out the winner of the 2021 Ballon D’or.
After last year’s cancellation of the award, it seems there’s even more interest this time around.
Will Lionel Messi land his seventh Ballon d’Or?
Will Robert Lewandowski get the award he so deserved last year?
Will Cristiano Ronaldo draw level with Messi on Ballon d’Or wins?
Will Jorginho surprise everyone?
So many questions and we’ll find out all the answers in a few weeks’ time.
Ultimate Ballon d’Or quiz: One question on every 2021 male nominee
The votes from managers and captains of national teams have already been cast as we await the results.
But that won’t stop everyone from having their own opinion.
Ahead of the ceremony, many people have been asked who they think should win the most prestigious individual award in football.
And now, Spanish outlet Marca have rounded up the biggest names in football – and sport – and revealed what they said when they were asked the Ballon d’Or question.
All quotes courtesy of Marca.
Check out the responses:
Ronaldo: Karim Benzema
“Without a doubt, my candidate for the Ballon d’Or is Benzema. The best forward, brutal level for 10 years and champion above all else,” Ronaldo said.
Giorgio Chiellini: Jorginho
Chiellini said: “I hope he wins the Ballon d’Or because he is a friend and I will feel that award as much mine as Italian. He was key in our scheme and we have won many games thanks to him. I have always considered Jorginho a great player after the first two training sessions that we had together. But with Mancini, he has evolved and is a top player.”
Kevin De Bruyne: Robert Lewandowski
The Manchester City midfielder said: “Looking at a two-year period because last year there wasn’t one, I would give the Ballon d’Or to Lewandowski.”
Gerard Pique: Lionel Messi
“Ballon d’Or? If they opt for the award criteria, then Messi will win. If it goes to the player who is the best in the world, it’ll be Messi,” his former Barcelona teammate said.
Zinedine Zidane: Karim Benzema
“Karim is on a cloud,” Zidane said. “I would give him the Ballon d’Or. He deserves it. He is an incredible player, I had the great honour of training him. He knows how to do everything on the field. He is above and I hope he can be rewarded with this ball of gold”.
Marco Verratti: Jorginho or Lionel Messi
“The choice between Jorginho and Messi must be clarified,” Verratti said. “If we give it to someone who has won everything in Europe, Jorginho. If we give it to the strongest of all, the one who entertains millions of fans in each game, including myself, then Messi will always win it as long as he plays.”
Maurcio Pochettino: Lionel Messi
His Paris-Saint Germain manager said: “To Messi. And if he did not train Messi, he would say Messi. Without any doubt. Lewandowski would have to be, second, and third would put Cristiano.”
Frank Leboeuf: Not Lionel Messi
Leboeuf controversially said: “In 2000 and 2006, Zidane did not get the Ballon d’Or because of two expulsions. Messi saw a red card in the Spanish Super Cup for a punch. That counts. If we didn’t give it to Zizou, we shouldn’t give it to Messi.”
Roberto De Zerbi: Karim Benzema
“Benzema ‘without a doubt’. For me, for years, he is the strongest center forward of all. Above Lewandowski. I prefer Benzema,” the Shakhtar Donetsk manager said.
Pedri: Lionel Messi
“That is something that is not up to me to decide, I am sure that the people who should do it will know how to choose who deserves it. But if I had to choose it myself, I have always said that for me Leo is the best,” the Barcelona youngster said.
Rafael Nadal: Karim Benzema
“My admiration as a player, commitment to sport and professionalism at his age. Good luck and my support for the 2021 Ballon d’Or,” Nadal wrote.
Rafael Marquez: Robert Lewandowski
Marquez said: “The best of all time is Pelé, although I did not see him play, but for all that he won, how he marked football and his importance. And for the Ballon d’Or this year he would give it to Lewandowski. If it weren’t for him It would be between Leo and Benzema, but it is very difficult to prefer one of those two.”
Iago Asapas: Robert Lewandowski
“I really like Benzema, but I would give it to Lewandowski,” the Celta Vigo forward said.
Ronald Koeman: Lionel Messi
“Messi is the main candidate for his great season and for winning the Copa América. For me, he is the top favorite this year,” the former Barca manager said.
Julian Nagelsmann: Robert Lewandowski
The Bayern Munich manager gave his teammate his vote. “He would have deserved the Ballon d’Or last year and, in my opinion, he also has to win it now as he has played more consistently than anyone for the last three years.”
Luis Suarez (1960 Ballon d’Or winner): Robert Lewandowski
“Give that Lewandowski the Ballon d’Or, damn it! If not, I’ll give him mine!” he joked.