L’Equipe reveal five frontrunners for 2022 Ballon d’Or with brand new winner set

After the disappointment of last year, the 2022 Ballon d’Or will crown a new winner, with five players leading the race to win the prestigious award.

On October 8 2021, Lionel Messi received the accolade of ‘the best player on the planet’ for a seventh time. This left football enthusiasts furious, with many feeling that Robert Lewandowski had done enough to deserve the trophy.

The Pole had run riot in Europe, scoring 53 goals in all competitions. This incredible tally saw him beat his nearest rival, Erling Haaland, by 16. But regardless, the Argentinian picked up the award.

However, due to his inability to adapt to Ligue 1, the PSG man doesn’t have a chance of retaining his title. In another twist, neither does Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese sensation has struggled to keep up with the best goal scorers on the planet due to Manchester United’s struggles.

However, after years at the top, the forward is clearly slowing down. As per L’Equipe, this has left the door open to many new faces, all competing to win the Ballon d’Or for the first time.

Karim Benzema

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The Frenchman has had a spectacular 2021-22 so far. The creative and skilful forward has set La Liga alight with his spectacular performances and remarkable eye for goal. Throughout his time at Real Madrid, the striker has found himself in the shadows of the club’s other forwards.

But now he’s found himself as their star player, having scored 24 league goals this season. In the Champions League, the 34-year-old scored back-to-back hat-tricks in the knockout rounds to give Madrid wins over PSG and Chelsea.

Robert Lewandowski

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Following the massive disappointment of having the rug swept from beneath his feet, the Pole is desperate to claim the award finally. The seven-time Bundesliga winner is closing in on an eighth consecutive title and still hitting the back of the net for fun. He’s bagged 46 goals for the German giants throughout the campaign.

Read: Polish media claim that Robert Lewandowski wants to leave Bayern for Barcelona.

Sadio Mane

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The Liverpool star has had a phenomenal season. He’s currently still in contention to win the treble. But he hasn’t just captivated spectators at Anfield. He’s also achieved international success with Senegal. The 30-year-old scored the deciding penalty kick against Egypt to secure his country’s first-ever AFCON Championship.

Kylian Mbappe

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Although only 23, the forward has proved himself as one of the greatest players on Earth. With his 40 goals and 27 assists this season considered, it’s no surprise that PSG and Real Madrid are fighting over the young star. Granted, his club exited Europe in spectacular fashion, but it doesn’t take away from the individual achievement of his last-minute winner in the first leg.

The generational talent is only getting better, and if he continues to impress, then the Ballon d’Or is within touching distance.

Kevin De Bruyne

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The Belgian is arguably the best passer in the entire sport. His ability to carve out the perfect opportunities has contributed to Manchester City’s remarkable success this season. However, it’s not just his link-up play which has impressed pundits. The midfielder knows how to put his name in lights.

His finishes against Manchester United, Liverpool and Atletico Madrid have put his goal-scoring ability on full display.

How the Ballon d’Or changed its model for 2022

The long-running competition has changed the way in which it decides its winner. Under the new rules, the award will now be handed out based on achievements during the traditional European season model instead of the traditional calendar year.

Therefore, with the champion crowned in October, they will enter the World Cup as the reigning Ballon d’Or Champion.

Featured Image Credit: Getty