Sports Desk, Oct 8 (EFE).- Euro 2020 victors Italy and Champions League holders Chelsea between them account for 10 of the 30 players announced Friday as contenders for the 2021 Ballon d’Or, which is to be presented on Nov. 29.
And one of the 10, Brazil-born Jorginho, represents both the Azzurri and the Premier League Blues.
But the 180 sports writers polled by France Football magazine also made room on the list for six-time winner Lionel Messi and for Cristiano Ronaldo, who has received the award on five previous occasions.
Luka Modric, who got the nod in 2018, is the only man not named Ronaldo or Messi to have received the Ballon d’Or during the period 2008-2019.
The competition was suspended last year due to the pandemic.
Ronaldo, now back with Manchester United, scored 29 goals last year with Juventus but lifted no trophies. Barcelona also had a disappointing season, but Messi was the LaLiga scoring king and led Argentina to triumph in the Copa America, his first international title.
Poland international Robert Lewandowski, author of a record 41 goals for Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga last season, is a serious contender.
Nor would anyone be surprised to the Ballon d’Or go to Belgian standout Kevin de Bruyne, voted England’s player of the year for his contribution to Manchester City’s third Premier League title in four years.
An unexpected inclusion on the list of nominees was 18-year-old Spaniard Pedri, who is also up for the Kopa Trophy, given to the best player under 21.
The only goalkeeper on the 30-man list, Gianluigi Donnarumma of Italy and Paris Saint-Germain, is also vying for the Yashin Trophy, bestowed on the top shot-stopper.
His rivals for that honor are PSG teammate Keylor Navas, Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa), Ederson (Man City), Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid), Samir Handanovic (Inter Milan), Manuel Neuer (Bayern), Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City) and Edouard Mendy (Chelsea).
THE 2021 BALLON D’OR NOMINEES
Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG)
Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus)
Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)
Simon Kjær (AC Milan)
Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
Ruben Dias (Manchester City)