The list of nominees for the award will be announced this Friday.
The award ceremony will take place on October 17th
MADRID, August 11 (EUROPA PRESS) –
The race for the 2022 Ballon d’Or is drawing to a close and this Friday the nominees for the prestigious award will be announced at the gala on October 17, with French striker Karim Benzema the main favorite to succeed Argentina’s Leo Messi is this recognition last year.
For the past decade, Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have monopolized the fight for this award, which recognizes the best footballer of the year. In fact, both cracks have always won this recognition, except in 2018 when Croatia’s Luka Modric won it, fueled by his great season at Real Madrid and his national team.
And everything seems to indicate that the 2022 edition will break that dominance of the Argentines and Portuguese as well, as Benzema is best positioned to lift the famous golden ball. The madridista enjoyed his best season since signing for the Whites 13 years ago, scoring 44 goals and providing 15 assists in 46 games.
Numbers that support his strong bid for the Ballon d’Or, although the qualitative factor has also been instrumental in the feeling that he has virtually no competitor for the award. The French ‘9’ has shown leadership, now without Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos in Madrid, who wears the armband and is the footballing and moral pillar of the whole squad.
With the Frenchman on the field, Real Madrid grew exponentially both footballingly and emotionally, a testament to which is their performances in European comebacks that allowed the club to win their fourteenth European Cup. Ten goals in five games, two hat-tricks and a total of 15 goals in the competition guarantee his good work in the tournament.
Alongside the titles, for example the league double and ‘champion’, as well as the Spanish and European Super Cups will help the striker get closer to the coveted accolade. The trophies are also a reason to think of Thibaut Courtois as another strong candidate.
The keeper established himself as one of the Whites’ heroes with crucial performances at key moments last season and has become an undeniable and important part of Real Madrid’s recent triumphs. And the challenge of receiving the award is enormous as only one goalkeeper, Yashin in 1962, won the award.
The Belgian has been one of the most influential in achieving Madrid titles. In the ‘Champions’ round of 16, he stopped a penalty against Messi and stopped Mbappé; in the quarter-finals, Azpilicueta saved his hand and made an exceptional stop after a Havertz header on the edge of the abyss; the masterful foot to Grealish in the semifinals to keep his team’s options alive; and his masterpiece was completed with an exceptional night in the final against Liverpool.
NEW WINNER SELECTION CRITERIA
Also Madridista Vinicius Junior could be shortlisted after his year-long rise to the elite of world football – with 22 goals and 20 assists along the way – although his youth keeps him from top spot. Manchester City’s Belgian Kevin De Bruyne would be one of the standouts, champion of last year’s Premier and semi-finalist of the ‘Champion’.
Others like Sadio Mané get into the pools. The forward guided Senegal to Africa Cup of Nations victory while making 50 appearances for Liverpool last season, scoring 23 goals and providing 5 assists. In fact, ahead of the final in Saint-Denis, the now brand-new Bayern Munich signing appeared to be the only one who could compete with Benzema for the accolade.
It seems the time has not yet come for Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappé, the two world stars destined to dominate world football in the next decade. But injuries in the first and a ‘champ’ resisting in the second mean they’ll have to wait for now. This time it could be the year of Poland’s Robert Lewandowski, favorite for the 2020 Ballon d’Or, the year the award was annulled due to the pandemic. Perhaps football owes this honor to today’s Barça striker.
French magazine France Football announced in March that it was changing its system for determining the winner of the Ballon d’Or, so this edition no longer takes into account what was done in the calendar year, but all of the 2021-22 season. As for the voting system, in order to gain more legitimacy, this will be limited to the representatives of the first hundred countries in the FIFA ranking in the case of the male Golden Ball and the top 50 in the case of the woman. .
As Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo appear to be no longer in the bets to win the award, the player with the most Golden Balls remains the Argentine with seven in total, followed by the Portuguese himself with five. They are followed by Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten with three awards.