Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong, and Marc-André ter Stegen have been nominated for France Football magazine’s Ballon d’Or prize for the best male footballer on the planet. Meanwhile, Barcelona Femení’s Lieke Martens has been nominated for the women’s version of the award.
Messi is perhaps the favorite to win the men’s award, having won a similar award, FIFA’s The Best Men’s Player, earlier this year. This would be his record-breaking sixth Ballon d’Or win, and first since 2015. It would cap off another amazing season from the Argentine maestro, having also won the European Golden Shoe and the La Liga trophy this past term. This would come a year after controversially being left off the podium the last time the award was handed out, finishing in fifth in 2018.
Griezmann finished third last year in the Ballon d’Or but was not in the top 10 for The Best this year, meaning he’s not likely to repeat an appearance on the podium for the Ballon d’Or this time.
De Jong finished 7th in The Best this year, which should give some indication about where he might be ranked for this coming award. Ter Stegen finished second for the The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper prize, after Liverpool’s Alisson, but neither keeper made the 10-man shortlist for The Best Men’s Player.
Virgil van Dijk finished second and Cristiano Ronaldo third for that award. They are considered Messi’s main competition for the Ballon d’Or.
Martens placed 11th last year in the women’s edition, or Ballon d’Or Féminin, as it is called. She won the 2017 The Best FIFA Women’s Player award as well. The women’s version of the Ballon d’Or did not exist prior to 2018. She did not make an appearance in the top 12 of The Best FIFA Women’s Player this year, although interestingly, another Barcelona player - Caroline Graham Hansen - did.
Megan Rapinoe won the The Best FIFA Women’s Player this year and is considered the favorite to win the corresponding Ballon d’Or.
Ter Stegen has also been nominated for the Yachine Trophy for the best goalkeeper in the world. The trophy is named after legendary Soviet Union keeper Lev Yashin. This is the first edition of the award. Once again Alisson is his main competitor.