The 2021 Ballon d'Or award took place on Monday night in Paris with five footballers and one club going home with awards.
The annual award ceremony held by France Football returned after it was suspended last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year's awards ceremony included the four previous awards handed out in the 2019 iteration as well as two new awards: the Striker of the Year and Best Club.
Ballon D'Or 2021 Highlights
- Award resumed after having been cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Lionel Messi won a record seventh Ballon d'Or award.
- Matildas captain Sam Kerr finished third in the Ballon d'Or feminine category.
The full report of the Ballon d'Or can be found on France Football's website.
The lavish ceremony was held on Monday in Paris at the Theatre du Chatelet. In attendance was not only many of football's A-List but also a number of Hollywood A-Listers including Zendaya and Tom Holland. The ceremony had a record televised viewing of two million people.
Winners were announced from a list of nominees previously released on October 8, 2021. Voting was done by a group of journalists from around the world who picked their first, second and third place finishers. Winners were those with the highest cumulative points from these selections.
The five categories in this year's awards were the men and women's Ballon d'Or, the Kopa Trophy, the Yashin Trophy, Striker of the Year and Best Club.
Men's Ballon d'Or
The men's Ballon d'Or was won by Lionel Messi, his seventh time claiming the award. Cristiano Ronaldo, who with five wins is the second most awarded player, ended up in sixth place. It is Ronaldo's first time out of the top three since 2010.
Women's Ballon d'Or
This year's top award went to Barcelona linchpin Alexia Putellas. Putellas was the first Spaniard (male or female) to win the award since 1960. Her country and club team-mate Jenni Hermoso finished second. Matildas' captain Sam Kerr finishing third, her highest ranking in three nominations.
|6||Christine Sinclair||Portland Thorns||Canada||36|
|8||Ashley Lawrence||Paris Saint-Germain||Canada||26|
|12||Christiane Endler|| Paris Saint-Germain
|13||Stina Blackstenius||BK Häcken||Sweden||10|
|14||Sam Mewis|| Manchester City
North Carolina Courage
|United States of America||8|
|15||Irene Paredes|| Paris Saint-Germain
|16||Ellen White||Manchester City||England||4|
|17||Kadidiatou Diani||Paris Saint-Germain||France||3|
|18||Marie-Antoinette Katoto||Paris Saint-Germain||France||3|
The Kopa Trophy is awarded to the best male player under the age of 21 and was first awarded in 2018. It is named after French footballer Raymond Kopa.
This year's winner was Spain and Barcelona midfielder Pedri who took home the prize by getting more than double the amount of points of second placed Englishman Jude Bellingham.
|2||Jude Bellingham||Borussia Dortmund||England||39|
|3||Jamal Musiala||Bayern Munich||Germany||38|
|4||Nuno Mendes|| Sporting CP
|5||Mason Greenwood||Manchester United||England||15|
|7||Florian Wirtz||Bayer Leverkusen||Germany||8|
|9||Giovanni Reyna||Borussia Dortmund||United States of America||1|
The Yashin Trophy, named after Russian goalkeeper Lev Yashin, is awarded to the best performing goalkeeper. Like the Kopa Trophy it was recently created in 2019. Gianluigi Donnarumma, who was not even nominated two years ago, won the top prize.
|1||Gianluigi Donnarumma|| Milan
|3||Jan Oblak||Atlético Madrid||Slovenia||155|
|5||Manuel Neuer||Bayern Munich||Germany||91|
|6||Emiliano Martínez||Aston Villa||Argentina||90|
|7||Kasper Schmeichel||Leicester City||Denmark||37|
|8||Thibaut Courtois||Real Madrid||Belgium||29|
|8||Keylor Navas||Paris Saint-Germain||Costa Rica||29|
|10||Samir Handanović||Inter Milan||Slovenia||8|
Striker of the Year
The newly created Striker of the Year was awarded to Robert Lewandowski. The Bayern Munich player scored a staggering 59 goals during the evaluation period. The general opinion is that had the awards ceremony occurred last year, the Polish striker would have won the top prize of the Ballon d'Or.
Speaking after winning this year's Ballon d'Or, Messi said the following of Lewandowski:
"Robert, you deserve your Ballon d'Or. Last year, everyone was in agreement to say that you were the big winner of this award," Messi said during his speech.
"Hopefully France Football will give you the 2020 Ballon d'Or. We all believe you deserved it and I hope you can have it at home."
Lewandowski had to settle for the inaugural Striker of the Year trophy.
|1||Robert Lewandowski||Bayern Munich||Poland||59|
Best Club of the Year
Chelsea Football Club was named the 2021 Club of the Year. The club had both its men's and women's teams feature in the final of the UEFA Champions League, with the men's side winning the top European club prize.
The women won last year's FA Women's Super League while their male counterparts currently sit atop the Premier League. The women also won the League Cup and Community Shield whilst the men were runners-up in the FA Cup.
Five male players and five female players were shortlisted for their respective Ballon d'Or awards. Chelsea keeper Édouard Mendy finished second in the Yashin Trophy.
Further details of the awards ceremony can be found using this link.