Ballon d’Or 2021: Who are the other contenders apart from Kante?

After his exploits for the newly crowned champions of Europe, Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante is one of the much-touted unofficial nominees for this year’s Ballon d’Or, but there are two other stand-out players who should be contenders for the award as well.

Firstly, we all know what the award is supposed to be about.

Arguably the best player in the world 2021: Messi
Arguably the best season any player has had until now: Lewandowski

Who do you crown? Best player or best season?

It all depends. Is there are noticeable gap between best player and 2nd best? And is there any significant difference in terms of their achievements? Which one has better narrative to win it this year?

One example is, back in 2013 even though Ribery was the most successful player that year (best player in his team winning treble) , the gap is actually quite huge between Ronaldo (55 goals 11 assist) vs Ribery (11 goals, 15 assist) in terms of individual stats, so ridicolously huge that it is really hard to give it to Ribery even though he is having the most successful year while also performing very well.

However, some might argue the gap between Messi and Lewandowski this year isn’t really that noticeable, Messi being naturally the better performer of course, but Lewandowski is clearly more deadly in front of goal (41 goals in 29 games in BL) and has a better narrative of winning it this year (break Muller’s record).

Anyway, below is how I would use to compare contenders for Ballon D’or, in terms of stats, performance, success and narrative. The past winners of Ballon D’or usually either scores more points than their rivals, or are so far better than their rivals in one or two specific areas.

Argument for Messi:
Stats: 38 goals 11 assist in 47 games
Performance: avg rating 8.52, 24 motm (Messi wins)
Success: winning domestic cup
Narrative: carry his team to 3rd place finish in league

Argument against:
Failed to lead his team to progress further in CL, failed to win a major trophy

Argument for Lewandowski:
Stats: 46 goals 7 assist in 35 games (Lewandowski wins)

Performance: avg rating 80.7, 13 motm
Success: winning league title (Lewandowski wins)
Narrative: break Muller’s record (Lewandowski wins)

Argument against:
Hard to find one, maybe injuries prevented him to help his team progress further in CL.

I’d say Lewandowski is currently leading it. But let’s say if Messi leads Argentina to win the Copa America, the Barcelona talisman would surely have a bigger chance of winning it all….yet again.