This year’s list includes some unexpected names as well as some notable exclusions.
One of the players that didn’t make the list is Lionel Messi, who took home the Ballon d’Or last season. On the other side, Rafael Leao is a new name on the list.
The Ballon d’Or, football’s highest individual honor, is the goal of every player. Major contenders for the Ballon d’Or this year include Kevin De Bruyne, Karim Benzema, and Mohamed Salah. So let’s take a look at the top 10 candidates for the Ballon d’Or this year.
Ballon d’Or 2022 – Top 10 Players
- Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
The strongest example of consistency from last season came from Karim Benzema’s performance. The French forward won both the Champions League and the Nations League at the end of the previous campaign.
He won four medals for both his nation and club. He was the main reason why both of his teams were successful. Because of his tendency for scoring crucial goals, Benzema is the favorite to win the Ballon d’Or in 2022. Last season, he has 48 goals and 15 assists.
- Sadio Mane (Bayern Munich)
Last season, Sadio Mane excelled for both his club and his nation. He contributed significantly to Senegal’s and Liverpool’s victory throughout the season with his steady play.
With Senegal, he won the Africa Cup of Nations, while with Liverpool, he won the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup. Mane had another outstanding season, scoring 33 goals and assisting on five more.
- Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)
Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois was an unappreciated hero in 2021–2022. The Belgian goalie made some outstanding saves in crucial matches that enabled Real Madrid to survive some tense situations.
In particular, his effort in the Champions League championship game stands out. He assisted Real Madrid in capturing the Champions League, La Liga, and Supercopa de Espaa last year. 23 of them were clean.
- Robert Lewandowski (FC Barcelona)
The previous time, Robert Lewandowski was on the verge of winning the Ballon d’Or. Nevertheless, he had another unblemished season and scored numerous goals.
The Polish attacker scored 57 goals and 12 others across all competitions. He also led the Bundesliga in goals scored and contributed to FC Bayern’s victories in the Bundesliga and Super Cup. Lewandowski has joined FC Barcelona and intends to continue scoring there.
- Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint Germain)
Despite not winning the Champions League or Euro 2020, Kylian Mbappe still had a fantastic campaign. Last year, he was the only player in all of football who both scored and assisted on at least 30 goals.
Mbappe earned a second international championship by helping France win the UEFA Nations League. Mbappe may win the Ballon d’Or in 2023 even though he isn’t the favourite to do it this year if he continues to perform welland France wins the World Cup.
- Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Given that his side lost both the Champions League final and the Premier League on the final day of the season, the Liverpool player may not have any significant championships to show for his efforts from the previous year.
Last season, Salah remained one of the most important players in the world. He finished off another successful season on Merseyside by scoring 33 goals and assisting on 19 more across all competitions.
- Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
De Bruyne has been well-known in the football world in recent years as a result of his excellent middle play for Manchester City and Belgium.
The midfielder from Belgium had one of his best seasons ever in 2017. He contributed to Manchester City’s second consecutive Premier League championship by scoring 21 goals and setting up 18 others.
- Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid)
Vinicius Junior’s 2021–22 season was a significant one. Everyone was taken aback by the Brazilian’s steady play throughout the entire season, which defied all predictions. He scored 22 goals and assisted on another 19 to help Real Madrid win the Champions League, La Liga, and Supercopa de Espaa.
In fact, he was responsible for the winning goal in the Champions League final that gave Santiago Bernabeu its first European championship in four years.
- Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
Last season, Real Madrid won La Liga and the Champions League, which marked a return to their best performance. As usual, Luka Modric stood out in the field’s middle.
Last season, the Croatian midfielder for Los Blancos showed that age is irrelevant by scoring seven goals and assisting 14 more. In 2018, Luka Modric won the Ballon d’Or, and this year he has a chance to win it once more.
- Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
During the 2021–22 season, Trent Alexander-Arnold enjoyed another outstanding year with Liverpool. In all competitions last season, he got four goals and 22 assists.
He was a crucial member of the Merseyside club and played a significant role in their FA Cup and Carabao Cup victories. Despite not being the finest fullback in terms of defence, Alexander-Arnold is among the best in terms of offence.