The much-awaited Ballon d’Or 2021 ceremony will be held at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris on Monday, November 29. Coverage for the mega event will begin on Tuesday, November 30, in India.

Lionel Messi, the current holder and a record six-time winner, is the favourite to win the Ballon d’Or award for the seventh time after his exploits handed Argentina the Copa America title - their first international silverware since 1993.

Robert Lewandowski, who was denied the chance to win the Ballon d'Or in 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, will be a stiff competitor for Messi.

The Poland star scored 25 goals and two assists in 19 appearances across all competitions this term. Perhaps, what could aid Lewandowski’s chances of a win is him breaking Gerd Müller's 49-year-old record of most goals in a single Bundesliga campaign (40) after he netted his 41st goal on the final match-day of the 2020-21 campaign.

The next contender in the top three list looks like Chelsea’s Jorginho, who could become the first Italian footballer since Fabio Cannavaro (2006) to take home the golden ball. The midfielder played a crucial role for both club and country, as he won the UEFA Champions League & UEFA Super Cup with Chelsea in 2020-21 while anchoring Italy to the Euro 2020 title - the Azzurri’s first since 1968.

The Ballon d’Or Feminin award ceremony will follow the Ballon d’Or ceremony. Barcelona Femeni captain Alexia Putellas is among the five players from her club in the 20-player shortlist for the trophy and is the favourite to claim it after leading Barcelona to the treble (Primera División, Copa de la Reina and Women’s Champions League) last season.

Australian star Sam Kerr is Alexia’s competition for the Ballon d’Or Feminin trophy. The Chelsea forward is the only female football player to have won the Golden Boot in three different leagues – W-League in Australia (2017–18, 2018–19), the NWSL in the USA (2017, 2018, 2019) and the FAWSL in England (2020–21) – after she led the Blues to a record fourth league title.

Putellas’ team-mate Jennifer Hermoso finished as the top scorer in the Primera División for the third straight season, and will also be one of the contenders for the Ballon d’Or Feminin award.

Barcelona midfielder Pedri, who played more than 70 matches for club and country - including 52 appearances in all competitions for Barcelona in 2020/21 - is the favourite to win the Kopa Trophy

The young Spaniard, who is recuperating from a thigh injury at present, recently won the Golden Boy award and hopes to end 2021 with yet another individual honour in the bag.

Ballon d’Or nominees 2021

Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Ruben Dias (Manchester City), Gianluigi Donnarumma (Paris Saint-Germain), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund), Jorginho (Chelsea), Harry Kane (Tottenham), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Simon Kjaer (AC Milan), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea), Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Gerard Moreno (Villarreal), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain), Pedri (Barcelona), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Luis Suarez (Atletico Madrid)

Ballon d’Or Feminin nominees 2021

Kadidiatou Diani (PSG), Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Jennifer Hermoso (Barcelona), Christiane Endler (Lyon), Christine Sinclair (Thorns FC), Ashley Lawrence (PSG), Irene Paredes (Barcelona), Jessie Fleming (Chelsea), Lieke Martens (Barcelona), Sandra Panos (Barcelona), Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal), Ellen White (Manchester City), Pernille Harder (Chelsea), Sam Mewis (North Carolina Courage), Wendie Renard (Lyon), Marie-Antoinette Katoto (PSG), Stina Blackstenius (Hacken), Magdalena Eriksson (Chelsea), Sam Kerr (Chelsea), Alexia Putellas (Barcelona)

Where to watch Ballon d’Or 2021 live in India?

The Ballon d’Or 2021 ceremony will be telecast live on Tuesday, November 30, on the Star Sports Select 1 and Star Sports Select 1 HD TV channels in India.  Coverage will begin at 1 AM IST.

Live streaming of the Ballon d’Or 2021 ceremony will be available on the Disney+ Hotstar app and website.

Featured photo: AFP / Franck Fife