Lionel Messi will hope to sweep up some of football’s biggest awards in the coming weeks.
On the back of winning the Copa America crown with Argentina and bowing out of Barcelona with yet another Pichichi Trophy, Messi is many supporters’ pick for the best male footballer of 2021.
In fact, the Paris Saint-Germain superstar is the favourite with most bookmakers to collect his seventh Ballon d’Or trophy when France Football reveals their winners on November 29.
Messi competing for awards
Victory would see Messi move two titles clear of Cristiano Ronaldo and more than likely ensure that he could end his career with more plaques than the Manchester United star.
However, it’s by no means nailed on that Messi will lift the famous golden ball with everyone from Jorginho to Robert Lewandowski and N’Golo Kante to Ronaldo himself also in the mix for victory.
But just in case you’re resolutely shaking your head at the idea of Messi not winning, let us refer you to the current odds for the The Best FIFA Men’s Award because the 34-year-old isn’t the favourite.
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The Best FIFA Men’s Award
And while that might not sound particularly shocking – they are completely different awards, after all – bear in mind that the Ballon d’Or and ‘The Best’ winners have always been identical.
Ronaldo won both plaques in 2016 and 2017 respectively, before Luka Modric did the double in 2018, Messi bagged the pair of awards in 2019 and the Ballon d’Or wasn’t contested last year.
Intriguing, right? So, with so many people feeling certain that Messi is going to be lifting a record-breaking Ballon d’Or in a just a few days, who could possibly beat him to FIFA’s top gong?
Favourites to win FIFA’s ‘The Best’ award
Well, the bookies think that it could be Mr. Lewandowski with the Bayern Munich striker having scored an outrageous 64 goals in the calendar year alone.
So, be sure to check out how the odds, which are correct at the time of writing on November 24, rank the 11 nominees to be named FIFA’s best male footballer of the year down below:
11. Neymar – 50/1
=9. Cristiano Ronaldo – 40/1
=9. N’Golo Kante – 40/1
8. Kylian Mbappe – 33/1
=6. Karim Benzema – 20/1
=6. Kevin De Bruyne – 20/1
5. Mohamed Salah – 18/1
4. Erling Braut Haaland – 16/1
3. Jorginho – 12/1
2. Lionel Messi – 2/1
1. Robert Lewandowski – 4/6
FIFA The Best Awards 2021: Date, UK Time, Nominees, How To Vote And All You Need To Know
Who’s your pick: Lewandowski or Messi?
The consensus does seem to be moving from Messi to Lewandowski when it comes to the world’s best player of 2021 and that’s clearly reflected in the early odds for FIFA’s top individual prize.
It would certainly be fascinating to see FIFA and France Football coming to different conclusions for the first time under the new branding, but maybe that’s the fairest way to garland both superstars.
It just depends where your priorities lie: do you reward Lewandowski on the basis of pure individual performances or do you back Messi for the poetry of his long-awaited international triumph?
We’ll leave you all to fight out that debate…