Ballon d’Or 2022: Ranking the top 5 favorites

The 2022 Ballon d’Or winner will be announced on October 17 this year, two months earlier than the usual date. The annual award is given by the French news magazine France Football to the best-performing footballer of a calendar year.

The Ballon d’Or is without a doubt the most prestigious individual award in football. The winner will be determined by a combination of votes from media representatives, national team captains and coaches.

The race for the Ballon d’Or is heating up and it’s only going to get more intense as the ball gets rolling in the 2022-23 season. France Football will publish the 30-man shortlist on August 12. But we already have a very good idea of ​​who the top contenders for this year’s award will be.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the top five contenders for the Ballon d’Or this year.

#5 Robert Lewandowski (Poland/Barcelona)

FC Barcelona vs New York Red Bulls
FC Barcelona vs New York Red Bulls

Robert Lewandowski clinched his second consecutive European Golden Boot in the 2021/22 season, scoring 35 goals for Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.

Lewandowski has been Europe’s top scorer for some time, scoring 50 goals and providing seven assists in 46 games in all competitions last season. He also played a key role in securing Poland’s World Cup qualification.

The 33-year-old scored in the final of the World Cup playoffs against Sweden and was instrumental in FC Bayern Munich winning the Bundesliga title. However, with Lewandowski only having the Bundesliga title in his trophy cabinet this year, he could once again miss the Ballon d’Or.

Lewandowski joined FC Barcelona from Bayern Munich earlier this summer in a deal worth €45m.

#4 Vinicius Jr. (Brazil/Real Madrid)

Liverpool FC - Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Final 2021/22
Liverpool FC – Real Madrid – UEFA Champions League Final 2021/22

Vinicius Jr. has truly heralded his arrival on the big stage in the 2021-22 season. He’s put behind the days when he was a leapfrog talent, blowing hot and cold, doubling his strengths to become one of the top strikers in Europe.

Vinicius was in phenomenal form for Real Madrid last season. Confident in his stride, he made defenders step back every time he got the ball. The Brazilian winger also formed a wonderful partnership with Karim Benzema and the duo helped Real Madrid dominate La Liga.

In 52 appearances in all competitions in the 2021/22 season, Vinicius scored 22 goals and provided 20 assists. He scored the only goal of the Champions League final for Real Madrid against Liverpool and played a pivotal role Los Blancos the European champions.

Vinicius was a key cog in the side that also won the La Liga title last season. The 22-year-old must be a top contender to win the Ballon d’Or this year.

#3 Kylian Mbappe (France/Paris Saint-Germain)

Paris Saint-Germain vs. Kawasaki Frontale – Pre-Season Friendly
Paris Saint-Germain vs. Kawasaki Frontale – Pre-Season Friendly

Kylian Mbappe’s stats from the 2021-22 season should be enough to earn him a spot on the Ballon d’Or podium. In 46 appearances in all competitions for Paris Saint-Germain, Mbappe has scored 39 goals and provided 26 assists.

He has established himself as the most intimidating striker in Europe at the moment. The Frenchman finds a way to influence almost every single game he plays and is prolific with his goal contributions.

However, just like Lewandowski, Mbappe’s chances of winning the Ballon d’Or are limited as he only has the Ligue 1 title in his trophy case last season.

#2 Sadio Mane (Senegal/Bayern Munich)

RB Leipzig - FC Bayern Munich - Supercup 2022
RB Leipzig – FC Bayern Munich – Supercup 2022

Sadio Mane had a difficult time in the first half of the 2021/22 season. But after the turn of the year he was back in top form. Stepping into his groove, he was in sensational form for both club and country in 2022.

He led Senegal to victory at AFCON 2021 and was named Player of the Tournament. He also guided them to World Cup qualification. Back at Liverpool he morphed into a centre-forward and ended up being a pretty solid one.

Mane finished the 2021/22 season with 23 goals and five assists in 51 appearances in all competitions for Jurgen Klopp’s side last season. The 30-year-old was also recently named CAF Player of the Year.

He also played a crucial role for Liverpool in their FA Cup and League Cup triumphs. All of these achievements make Mane a top contender for the 2022 Ballon d’Or. He joined Bayern Munich from Liverpool for €32m earlier in the summer.

#1 Karim Benzema (France/Real Madrid)

Real Madrid CF - Valencia CF - La Liga Santander
Real Madrid CF – Valencia CF – La Liga Santander

Karim Benzema is the clear favorite for this year’s Ballon d’Or. In fact, it would be criminal to deny Benzema the Ballon d’Or after the year he had. His individual brilliance propelled Real Madrid to La Liga and Champions League titles last season.

The Frenchman was in top form for Los Blancos last season in the knockout stages of the Champions League. His stunning performances include hat-tricks against PSG and Chelsea in the round of 16 and quarters respectively, before clinching a brace against Manchester City in the semis.

It’s also worth noting that he scored winners in the games against all three of these teams. Benzema finished the 2021/22 season with 44 goals and 15 assists in 46 appearances in all competitions for Carlo Ancelotti’s men last season.

In the 2021/22 season, he was also the top scorer in La Liga with 27 goals in 32 games. Ballon d’Or 2022: Ranking the top 5 favorites

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