Messi, CR7, Lewandowski lead 30 Ballon d'Or nominees; Pedri makes cut

THOMAS SAMSON / AFP / Getty

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Robert Lewandowski headline France Football's 30-man shortlist for the prestigious Ballon d'Or, with Barcelona's 18-year-old midfielder Pedri becoming the second-youngest player to be nominated in the history of the award on Friday.

Messi is the reigning Ballon d'Or winner from 2019. France Football scrapped the award in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Champions League winners Chelsea and finalists Manchester City lead all clubs with five nominations each. Chelsea's star signing, Romelu Lukaku, finished second to Ronaldo in Serie A scoring last season with Inter Milan.

Five players from Italy's Euro-winning side also made the list, though Federico Chiesa - who scored twice in the knockout stage - missed out.

Player Club Country
Cesar Azpilicueta Chelsea Spain
Nicolo Barella Inter Milan Italy
Karim Benzema Real Madrid France
Leonardo Bonucci Juventus Italy
Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City Belgium
Giorgio Chiellini Juventus Italy
Cristiano Ronaldo Manchester United/Juventus Portugal
Ruben Dias Manchester City Portugal
Gianluigi Donnarumma PSG/Milan Italy
Bruno Fernandes Manchester United Portugal
Phil Foden Manchester City England
Erling Haaland Borussia Dortmund Norway
Jorginho Chelsea Italy
Harry Kane Tottenham Hotspur England
N'Golo Kante Chelsea France
Simon Kjaer Milan Denmark
Robert Lewandowski Bayern Munich Poland
Romelu Lukaku Chelsea/Inter Milan Belgium
Riyad Mahrez Manchester City Algeria
Lautaro Martinez Inter Milan Argentina
Kylian Mbappe PSG France
Lionel Messi PSG/Barcelona Argentina
Luka Modric Real Madrid Croatia
Gerard Moreno Villarreal Spain
Mason Mount Chelsea England
Neymar PSG Brazil
Pedri Barcelona Spain
Mohamed Salah Liverpool Egypt
Raheem Sterling Manchester City England
Luis Suarez Atletico Madrid Uruguay

Paris Saint-Germain's Gianluigi Donnarumma is the only shot-stopper to appear after clinching Euro 2020 for his country with two vital saves in the shootout against England at Wembley Stadium. Prior to joining PSG on a free transfer, the 22-year-old helped AC Milan reach the Champions League for the first time in seven years, posting 14 clean sheets in Serie A.

Milan's Simon Kjaer is one of the most surprising entries on the list. The 32-year-old defender captained his native Denmark to the semifinals of Euro 2020 and earned praise for the life-saving measures he took when teammate Christian Eriksen collapsed on the field earlier in the tournament. Gerard Moreno, who scored 30 goals in all competitions and won the 2020-21 Europa League title with Villarreal, is another newcomer to the nominees' list.

Pedri is nominated for both the Ballon d'Or and Kopa Trophy, the latter of which is handed to the best performing player under the age of 21. The Spaniard made 28 starts in his first top-flight season with Barcelona and featured at Euro 2020 and the UEFA European Under-21 Championship immediately after.

At 18 years and 317 days old, Pedri nearly overtook Kylian Mbappe as the youngest player to receive a nomination. Mbappe was 18 years and 293 days old when he first made the list in 2017.

Lewandowski is looking to capture his first-ever Ballon d'Or after missing out on what many believed would be a sure win last year. Bayern's 33-year-old sharpshooter broke Gerd Muller's long-standing single-season Bundesliga scoring record with 41 goals in the 2020-21 campaign.

France Football also named 20 nominees for the women's Ballon d'Or on Friday. Megan Rapinoe, who won the last award in 2019, wasn't included on this year's list.

Spain leads all countries with four nominations, while Canada has three, including record goalscorer Christine Sinclair.

Women's Ballon d'Or nominees

Player Club Country
Stina Blackstenius Hacken Sweden
Kadidiatou Diani PSG France
Christiane Endler Lyon Chile
Magdalena Eriksson Chelsea Sweden
Jessie Fleming Chelsea Canada
Pernille Harder Chelsea Denmark
Jennifer Hermoso Barcelona Spain
Marie-Antoinette Katoto PSG France
Sam Kerr Chelsea Australia
Fran Kirby Chelsea England
Ashley Lawrence PSG Canada
Lieke Martens Barcelona Netherlands
Samantha Mewis North Carolina Courage Canada
Viviane Miedema Arsenal Netherlands
Sandra Panos Barcelona Spain
Irene Paredes Barcelona Spain
Alexia Putellas Barcelona Spain
Wendie Renard Lyon France
Christine Sinclair Thorns FC Canada
Ellen White Manchester City England

Finally, three players from England's national team feature on France Football's 10-man shortlist for the Kopa Trophy.

Kopa Trophy nominees

Player Club Country
Jude Bellingham Borussia Dortmund England
Jeremy Doku Rennes Belgium
Ryan Gravenberch Ajax Netherlands
Mason Greenwood Manchester United England
Nuno Mendes PSG Portugal
Jamal Musiala Bayern Munich Germany
Pedri Barcelona Spain
Giovanni Reyna Borussia Dortmund United States
Bukayo Saka Arsenal England
Florian Wirtz Bayer Leverkusen Germany

The Ballon d'Or will be awarded on Nov. 29 in Paris.

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Messi, CR7, Lewandowski lead 30 Ballon d'Or nominees; Pedri makes cut
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