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Ballon d’Or 2021: Messi in battle with Lewandowski

Lionel Messi is expected to collect his seventh Ballon d’Or award at a glittering 2021 ceremony in Paris this evening.

Messi is the favourite after winning the Copa America with Argentina earlier this year, despite one of his less impressive years at club level: Barcelona finished third in La Liga and fell in the first knockout round of the Champions League.

However, Messi scored two goals as Barca won the Copa del Rey final and he was La Liga’s top goal scorer once more, before switching to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.

Robert Lewandowski was widely expected to win last year’s award before it was cancelled due to the pandemic, and the Bayern Munich striker is in the running once again.

Chelsea’s Jorginho is another candidate, having won the Champions League with his club and Euro 2020 with his country Italy a couple of months later.

Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas and Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema lead the charge for the women’s award.

Putellas scored in the final as the all-conquering Barca won the Champions League, while Miedema is both Netherlands and Women’s Super League all-time leading goalscorer and racked up goals at the Olympic Games.

Spain’s Pedri is expected to win the Kopa Trophy for the best men’s young player, while Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy and PSG’s Gianluigi Donnarumma lead the running for the men’s goalkeeper award, the Yashin Trophy.

The ceremony takes place tonight at the Chatelet Theatre in Paris, starting from 7.30pm GMT.

It will be streamed live online via L’Equipe’s YouTube channel, and Eurosport will also be streaming the award on its website and the Eurosport app.

The ceremony is expected to end around 9pm GMT.

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