2021 Ballon d'Or
The 2021 Ballon d’Or winner will be crowned on Monday, so our Vendetta soccer (football) team predicts who takes home the honor. Will Messi get his seventh or will Robert Lewandowski’s superb two-year run of form see him lift the sport’s greatest individual honor? (Photo Credit: AFP / Thomas Samson)

Vendetta Roundtable: 2021 Ballon d’Or Predictions

The 2021 Ballon d’Or winner will be crowned on Monday, so here at Vendetta, our soccer (football) team assembled predictions for who will take home the honor. Will Lionel Messi get his record-continuing seventh Ballon d’Or or is it time that Robert Lewandowski’s superb two-year run of form is rewarded with the sport’s greatest individual honor? Read on to find out who our team thinks will lift the award.

Who takes home the 2021 Ballon d’Or?

Alex Cervantes: Lionel Messi should take home his seventh Ballon d’Or. It’s a two-horse race between Messi and Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski, but the Argentine is fully deserving of the honor. In the calendar year, the 34-year-old scored 28 goals for Barcelona, assisting on an additional nine. He led the club to a Copa del Rey title and a third place La Liga finish, with the same team that collapsed following his departure. Messi disguised a lot of the club’s shortcomings, even keeping Ronald Koeman employed for a few more months.

And after shouldering a tremendous load for the Catalan side, he went on to hurdle the final “well, but…” of his career, guiding Argentina to the 2021 Copa America trophy while also earning Golden Boot and Best Player of the Tournament honors. He was directly involved in 75% of his country’s goals at the tournament. La Albiceleste’s talisman is aging like fine wine, and he seems to be finding his footing at PSG following a hat trick of assists on Sunday – he has four goals and four assists in 11 matches. Lewandowski certainly has a shout – and it is criminal that he wasn’t the 2020 Ballon d’Or winner – but this year, Lionel Messi adds another golden ball to a very full trophy cabinet.

Curran Sharma: Lionel Messi has to win the Ballon d’Or. Scoring the winning goal in the Copa del Rey final as well as scoring 30 goals in La Liga, he left Barca with style and class. He then went on to be the best player in a winning effort for Argentina in the Copa America, winning the player of the tournament as he finally got over his international jinx. Scoring the most goals, providing the most assists and winning the most man of the match awards in an international tournament is not an easy task. Sure, he’s started slowly for PSG, but even in what some consider to be an “off” year, he’s still the best player on the planet.

Chris Bagdonas: While I do think Lewandowski has a great case, I do think Messi is going to win it. His G/A is still exceptional and he has still proved to be world class in both creating and scoring goals. He won two major trophies, one with a struggling Barca and his first one for his country. While some could poke holes in his “downgrade” to the French league and his slow start to life in France, he has finally scored Ligue 1 and is well on his way to another trophy.

Garrett Burroughs: This year’s Ballon d’Or race is really between two men: Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich and Mo Salah of Liverpool. Being a Chelsea fan, I’ve been able to see firsthand the incredible season Salah has had for Liverpool. 72 goals per 90 over the past year puts him among the best in the world in the category, plus his vision on the pitch makes him dangerous to find passing lanes that others can’t see (.25 assists per 90 mins, 81% pass completion). Plus, Salah just broke Premier League legend Didier Drogba’s record for highest scoring African in Premier League history of 104 goals with a hat trick on Sunday.

Robert Lewandowski has a near double goal rate per 90 minutes, at 1.41 goals per 90 minutes, which is absurd. Lewandowski has played at an unreal level now for almost two years, so there is consistency in his play unlike we’ve seen from many other players in the world. But I think the level of competition just isn’t the same. Maybe it’s Premier League bias, and if this was two seasons ago it would be different, but this year should go to Mo Salah.

Karl Heiser: Robert Lewandowski deserves the 2021 Ballon d’Or and I will die on this hill. The Bayern Munich striker deserved the prestigious honor last season but the award was canceled due to the pandemic (although realistically they still could have done it). In the 2020/21 Bundesliga season, Lewandowski found the back of the net 41 times in just 29 games, breaking Gerd Müller’s longtime record of 40 goals in one Bundesliga season.

He has the most goals of anyone for both club and country (Poland) in 2021. Lewandowski won the European Golden Boot for being the continent’s top scorer in league matches, ahead of both Messi and Ronaldo. The striker has fueled Bayern’s recent dominance with his penchant for scoring goals. Based on what he has accomplished in the last year plus, he absolutely should receive the 2021 Ballon d’Or after being denied in 2020 yet continuing to set the standard for the world’s nines.

Max Everett: Robert Lewandowski. 2020 was an egregious year for a variety of reasons but the robbery that was the cancellation of the Ballon d’Or ceremony can never be forgiven. His stats were a cornerstone to the dominance of Bayern Munich and it feels like a malpractice that he has never been officially recognised as the best player in the world when in reality he was.

It’s 2021 and the Ballon d’Or is back and Messi has returned to the form which in any other year would spell defeat for his opponents. But, and it’s a significant but, Messi has yet to truly shift into second gear at PSG. Lewandowski has yet to slow in club colours and edges it in my opinion. Justice is deserved and hopefully when the award is announced, justice will be served.

Jarrod Prosser: Had the 2020 Ballon d’Or not been controversially cancelled in 2020, then veteran Polish forward Robert Lewandowski would surely have claimed his first title as the world’s best player. Rather than sulking or complaining, Lewandowski has only gone and had a repeat year in 2021, with (so far) an utterly ridiculous 64 goals – including 14 in 13 Bundesliga games this season. Those types of numbers have not been seen since Gerd Muller or Dixie Dean were in their pomp. In addition to his now standard, incredible goal scoring exploits, the Pole is a sneaky good playmaker with 10 assists over the calendar year.

Those extraordinary individual numbers, combined with his team trophies (Club World Cup and DFL Super Cup – the Bundesliga almost doesn’t count, at this point) I can’t see how you can go past the Bayern Munich marksman.

Well, there you have it, Messi (3) and Lewandowski (3) get the most shouts, but Salah gets a nomination too. Of course, we’ll know on Monday who of our team had the crystal ball and who was a bit hopeful.

Regardless, let us know who you think should take home the award and if you agree/disagree with our writers.

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