In the last decade, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the Ballon d’Or. The duo has won 11 of the last 12 editions of football’s most prestigious individual award. Luke Modric, who won it in 2018, is the only player to have won it since 2008 who is not Messi or Ronaldo.
The race for the 2021 Ballon d’Or is dominated by veterans of the game.
Unlike in previous years, it is difficult to predict who will win the Ballon d’Or this year. Lionel Messi is widely expected to win his seventh Ballon d’Or, but Robert Lewandowski, Jorginho, and Karim Benzema are also strong contenders. As you can see, the race is dominated by game veterans.
However, if we descend a little further, we can see the ‘beautiful game”s future prospects. 2030 is a long time away, but based on the evidence we’ve gathered thus far, let’s try to predict who will be the favorites in the Ballon d’Or race then.
Number 5: Vinicius Jr
21-year-old Vinicius Jr. has been a revelation for Real Madrid this season. As a teenager, the Brazilian international showed a lot of promise, but he was still a little rough around the edges in his first three years at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Vinicius Jr. has made his presence known this season. His finishing has vastly improved. The youngster’s lightning-fast pace, combined with his quick feet and trickery, make him as elusive as any attacker. Vinicius, in short, is a difficult player to defend against.
He has the potential to follow in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo at the club. Of course, Ronaldo’s accomplishments are out of this world, but Vinicius should be audacious and ambitious because he possesses that level of natural ability.
He has yet to establish himself in the national system, but that should be a matter of time. Vinicius is unquestionably one of our picks to be a favorite in a Ballon d’Or race nine years from now.
Number 4: Phil Foden
Pep Guardiola deserves credit for developing some of Manchester City’s talented teenagers into technically proficient footballers. Phil Foden is the epitome of this. He was a gifted youngster, but Foden now appears to be destined to become Manchester City’s main man in the coming years.
He is a playmaker with exceptional passing and dribbling skills. Foden has already demonstrated a high level of maturity on the football field at the age of 21. His tactical intelligence and decision-making abilities are already of the highest caliber. This year, Foden has been named to the Ballon d’Or 30-man shortlist.
The Englishman is also a hard worker who is always willing to put in a shift for his team. He can play anywhere in the midfield and on the attack. Foden is already one of the Premier League’s most exciting young players, and there is no doubt that he will be a contender for the Ballon d’Or in the coming years.
Number 3: Pedri
It’s easy to misidentify Pedri as a La Masia alumnus. For Barcelona, he plays in the center of the field, and his style of play is similar to that of the club’s greatest midfielders, Xavi and Andres Iniesta. On the other hand, Pedri was signed by Las Palmas in the summer of 2020.
Pedri made his senior Barcelona debut as an 18-year-old and quickly established himself as a mainstay in the starting lineup. His deft touches, quick movements, intelligence, and eye for a pass quickly made him unstoppable. Pedri was also one of Spain’s best players during the country’s run to the Euro 2020 semi-finals this summer.
He was named the Tournament’s Best Young Player. Pedri, like Foden, has been named to the 30-man shortlist for this year’s Ballon d’Or. It’s insane that he’ll turn 19 in the last week of November. He is already a top-tier midfielder who will only improve with time.
Number 2: Kylian Mbappe
Kylian Mbappe, who is only 22 years old, has already had an illustrious career for both club and country. Mbappe has been widely regarded as the heir apparent to the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for at least four years.
The Frenchman’s blistering pace and trickery make him a nightmare for defenders to deal with. There is no stopping him once he gets past a defender and engages the afterburners. Mbappe is also one of the world’s most prolific goal scorers.
In 47 appearances for PSG in 2020-21, he scored 42 goals and assisted on 11 others. He is not a favorite to win the Ballon d’Or this year due to a lack of major trophies. He will, however, undoubtedly dominate it in the coming years. Mbappe is widely expected to win multiple Ballon d’Or awards throughout his career.
Number 1: Erling Haaland
Erling Haaland‘s talent, like Kylian Mbappe’s, belies his age. The Norwegian striker turned 21 in July is already the world’s most sought-after striker. Haaland’s athleticism and exceptional finishing ability have earned him the moniker “The Terminator.”
He has an electric presence on the field and elite movement. When it comes to off-the-ball work in and around the final third, Haaland is one of the best in the business. The Borussia Dortmund striker also appears unfazed by pressure and is extremely adept at outwitting goalkeepers in one-on-one situations.
He can generate a lot of power with his left foot, but he can also serve up fizzing grounded finishes. In 41 appearances across all competitions for Borussia Dortmund in the 2020-21 season, Haaland scored 41 goals and provided 12 assists.
He is yet another player tipped to win multiple Ballon d’Or awards in the future. The services of Erling Haaland will be sought by the majority of Europe’s top clubs next summer.