In 1956, sports journalist Gabriel Hanot created the prestigious Ballon d’Or (The Golden Ball). The Award is given to the player who has shown the greatest on-field excellence throughout a year, as determined by journalists, coaches, and national team captains.
The Ballon d’Or award is presented by the French news magazine ‘France Football’. It’s regarded as the most significant personal accolade in world football.
In recent years, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have dominated the prize ceremony. The only other player to win the Ballon d’Or in the past decade was Real Madrid’s Luka Modrić in 2018.
In 2020, due to the matches being suspended, there was no Ballon d’Or. It was the first time in 65 years that it hadn’t been awarded. Many felt it should have gone to Lewandowski, who had a fantastic campaign, winning the Champions League, and ending as the competitions top scorer on fifteen goals.
Lionel Messi holds the record for the most Ballon d’Or wins with seven. He and Ronaldo will be challenging for it again in 2022. Both players have moved clubs in the last couple of seasons, Messi joined PSG, and Ronaldo resigned for Manchester United in a shock move.
Fans will be wondering if Messi can make it a magic eight? Or will there be a new challenger in 2022?
Betting on the next recipient of the Ballon d’Or is big business for the bookmakers. So you’ll find sportsbooks offering Ballon d’Or odds from the beginning of the season, right up until the award is announced. There may also be promotions so look out for those, especially on the 1win login page.
If you fancy a punt on the red hot favourite or an outsider who you think will scoop the big one, you can look at the leading contenders and their latest betting odds below. Free bet stakes are available with selected bookmakers.
For 2021, the men’s and women’s Ballon d’Or winners were crowned at a gala event at the Chatelet Theatre in Paris on 29th November.
Lionel Messi beat Robert Lewandowski and Jorginho for the award in the men’s category. Lewandowski did pick up the consolation prize of the newly formed Striker of the Year award.
The Women’s Ballon d’Or went to Barcelona captain Alexia Putellas.
LIONEL MESSI (0/0)
The seven-time winner has firmly established himself as the favourite to win the 2022 Ballon d’Or in the sportsbook market.
He won the last Ballon d’Or award back in 2021 and another win this year would put him three ahead of his closest rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi made his PSG debut as a second-half substitute against Reims on August 29, 2021, and it was a quiet beginning as his new team eased to a 2-0 win.
Despite a rocky start that included a knee injury, the star finally came to life when he played a vital role in beating Manchester City and his former coach Pep Guardiola in the Champions League.
Is it the first of many for Messi? We will have to wait and see.
ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI (0/0)
As we previously said, many fans thought the Bayern striker should have won this award in both 2020 and 2021. He is 32 years of age, but he isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
If he can continue his fantastic goalscoring form for the rest of the year, he will be in with a shout.
His goalscoring prowess in the Bundesliga and Europe is undiminished and if his form continues, he can take Mbappe and Messi all the way.
Despite Jorginho being crucial to the way both Italy and Chelsea play, he has tough competition and his odds have drifted. He’s good on the ball and keeps possession well.
At these odds, I think he has a better chance than some and he’d be a popular choice with sports journalists.
CRISTIANO RONALDO (0/0)
By the standards of greats like Ronaldo, it was not his best year. But for anyone else – including Ronaldo’s own personal benchmarks- this would still be a good season by any measure.
The man with the second-most Ballon D’Or awards in history is still some way off this year’s favourites but even so, if he can come good at Manchester United, he could be in with a shot.
He still needs to do a lot of work before he can stand a chance at winning this award again, but you wouldn’t put it past the 5-time winner!
KYLIAN MBAPPE (0/0)
It feels like it’s a matter of when not if, Kylian Mbappe will win the Ballon d’Or. He is emerging now as one of the best players in the world and has got off to a good start this year.
Mbappe finished the 2020/21 season with 42 goals and 11 assists in all competitions. The French forward thrilled fans when he scored a hat-trick at the Nou Camp against Barcelona in the ECL group stage.
His side got to the semi-finals of the Champions League but he was injured and didn’t feature in either leg.
He still remains Messi’s closest challenger for many punters.
KEVIN DE BRUYNE (0/0)
The Manchester City midfielder is another outsider with a decent chance. Kevin De Bruyne helped his team lift the Premier League trophy in 2020/21 and the blues also finished runners up in the ECL final in the same season.
De Bruyne was also a major factor in Belgium reaching the Euro 2020/21 quarterfinals. The skilful midfielder has been overlooked in previous seasons and he would certainly deserve the award for his impact with Man City over the past few campaigns.
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PREVIOUS BALLON D’OR WINNERS
Lionel Messi – 2021
Another unstoppable season for Messi and with his move to PSG he’s on to the next phase of his incredible season.
As such he was the favourite to collect the award after winning the Copa America with Argentina, his first major international trophy and that was enough to seal the deal for a seventh time.
Ballon D’Or Not Awarded – 2020
Due to the lack of football and the restrictions in place around the world, the award was not presented to anybody in 2020.
Lionel Messi 2019
After three years of missing out, Messi finally got his hands on the award once again. He won the La Liga title with Barcelona and landed the European Golden Shoe, scoring 36 goals in the league.
This was Messi’s sixth Ballon d’Or of his career, and now he will be hoping to make it seven with a win in 2021.
Luka Modric 2018
In 2018, Modric finally broke the 10-year chain of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi winning the Ballon d’Or. He was pivotal in Real Madrid winning the Champions League once again that season and then helped guide his country to the World Cup final, where they finished runners up. Modric was also awarded the Golden Ball, for the Player Of The Tournament at the World Cup.
Cristiano Ronaldo 2016 & 2017
Since the Ballon d’Or parted from FIFA back in 2016, there have been three different winners in four years. Cristiano Ronaldo took home the 2016 and 2017 awards, beating Lionel Messi both times.
Ronaldo won the Champions League in both of those years, which is usually a big factor in winning the Ballon d’Or. On top of this, he also won the European Championships with Portugal in 2016.
BALLON D’OR TRIVIA
First Winner Of The Ballon d’Or
In 1956, the Ballon d’Or was first awarded to English footballer Stanley Matthews. It came down between him and Real Madrid great Alfredo Di Stefano, with just three points separating them for who would receive this prestigious honour.
Matthews is one of the most decorated English players and was even made ‘Sir Stanley Matthews’ while he still played. In addition, he holds the record for being the oldest player in the top division at the grand age of 50 years and five days!
How Is The Ballon d’Or Decided?
Only a select few get to decide who will take home the Ballon d’Or award. International managers and captains, along with journalists, determine who wins the Golden Ball.
Each manager, captain and journalist is given three votes, and the ballots have different points values. For example, one is worth five points, one is worth three points, and the final vote is worth one point.
You can only vote for three nominees who make up the shortlist, and then the player with the most points is crowned the winner.
When Is The Ballon d’Or 2021?
The 2021 Ballon d’Or ceremony will take place on November 29th at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. This year there are 30 nominees, due to last seasons Ballon d’Or not taking place.
Lionel Messi is the current favourite to win, which would be his seventh.
Famous Players Who Didn’t Win
One player who famously missed out on a Ballon d’Or was Thierry Henry. Whilst at Arsenal, he won two Premier League titles, was voted the PFA Player Of The Year in two consecutive seasons and won four Golden Boots in his time with the Gunners.
However, he still finished runner up to Pavel Nedved for that 2003 crown after having an arguably more successful campaign than the Czech midfielder had enjoyed with Juventus.
Ribery is another player who unfairly missed out. In 2013 he was part of a Bayern Munich side that won the treble, and yet still couldn’t beat Cristiano Ronaldo for first place. Ribery said in an interview he felt that he should have won the award that season.
One more player who was unlucky not to win the Ballon d’Or is Virgil Van Dijk. The Liverpool defender came second in 2019. That season Van Dijk guided Liverpool Champions League final victory and was arguably the best defender in the world. But as always, the Ballon d’Or voters favour forwards and Virgil missed out.