Messi, 34, held off the challenge of Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema and Chelsea’s Jorginho to collect the prize and move two clear in his long-running battle with five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo, who was among the 30 players shortlisted but did not feature in the top three for the first time in 11 years.
Messi was the favourite to collect the award after winning the Copa America with Argentina earlier this year – his first major international trophy – despite one of his less impressive periods 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 goalscorer once more, before switching to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.
Lewandowski did pick up the consolation prize of the newly formed Striker of the Year award, while the Women’s Ballon d’Or went to Barcelona captain Alexia Putellas.
Further awards went to Gianluigi Donnarumma for the Yashin Trophy of best goalkeeper, to Barcelona midfielder Pedri as the starlet was handed the Kopa Trophy and another new award went to Chelsea for Club of the Year for their on-pitch achievements with both men’s and women’s teams. You can follow all the latest updates and reaction below. Keep up with all the latest breaking news by signing up to our free email alerts by clicking here.
Gianluigi Donnarumma wins goalkeeper’s Yashin Trophy at Ballon d’Or 2021 awards ceremony
Gianluigi Donnarumma has won the Yashin Trophy, awarded to the world’s best goalkeeper this year at the Ballon d’Or ceremony in Paris.
Italy’s No1 played a starring role in their Euro 2020 triumph with crucial penalty shootout saves and kept a miserly defensive record throughout the competition, and he was named the Player of the Tournament. His club form has been less impressive, however, making only made a handful of appearances so far since swapping AC Milan for Paris Saint-Germain in the summer due to injury and the form of Keylor Navas.
Donnarumma, 22, fought off competition from Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy, who has been outstanding under Thomas Tuchel and kept goal as the Blues won last season’s Champions League, as well as helping them to the top of the Premier League this season with only five goals conceded.
The 22-year-old was named Player of the Tournament at the summer’s European Championship as Italy lifted the trophy
Ballon d’Or 2021: DONNARUMMA wins Yashin Trophy
The winner of the Yashin Trophy and the best goalkeeper in the world for 2021 is Italy’s Gianluigi Donnarumma!
A starring role for the national team at Euro 2020, which they won in summer, while he has also made a high-profile move from AC Milan to PSG since then - a club trophy looks soon to be in the offing there.
Ballon d’Or 2021: Salah and Ronaldo ranked 7th and 6th
Three more of the shortlisted players are announced in the men’s award and it’s a Premier League trio.
In eighth place is Kevin de Bruyne of Man City and Belgium, Liverpool and Egypt’s Mohamed Salah is in seventh and sixth goes to Cristiano Ronaldo of Man United and Portugal.
Ballon d’Or 2021: Women’s award rankings
Fran Kirby came in 10th, with Chelsea team-mate Jessie Fleming in ninth. Another Chelsea star was seventh in Pernille Harder, with Arsenal’s free-scoring Vivianne Miedema in fourth.
Sam Kerr, of Chelsea and Australia, came third - Alexia’s Barcelona team-mate Jennifer Hermoso was the runner-up.
Alexia Putellas wins Ballon d’Or 2021 after starring role in Barcelona’s treble-winning season
Alexia won the Women’s Champions League with Barcelona, the Women’s Primera Division and the Copa de la Reina last season, before also being appointed the full-time captain of the team at the start of this season.
Putellas becomes the third winner of the Ballon d’Or Feminin after Ada Hegerberg in 2018 and Megan Rapinoe in 2019
Ballon d’Or 2021: ALEXIA PUTELLAS wins Feminin award
And there it is, the expected announcement: the Barcelona star is named the world’s greatest player in women’s football for 2021: Alexia Putellas!
“I’m very emotional, it’s a very special moment. It’s special to have my team-mates here after all we’ve achieved.
“It’s an individual award but it’s a collective achievement - I hope you all see it that way.”
Ballon d’Or 2021: Feminin award up next
Kylian Mbappe is apparently presenting this award.
Jennifer Hermoso, Sam Kerr, Lieke Martens, Vivianne Miedema, Alexia Putellas - that’s the five bidding for the trophy.
Ballon d’Or 2021: Pedri and Lewandowski pick up awards
Here are the duo claiming their awards so far tonight: Barcelona’s Pedri, who claimed the Kopa Trophy for the best U21, and Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski, crowned as Striker of the Year.
Reckon he wants that other trophy to his left, though...
Robert Lewandowski wins Striker of the Year at Ballon d’Or 2021 award ceremony after prolific year with Bayern Munich
A non-stop calendar year of goalscoring for the Polish forward - can he make it a double tonight though?
Shortly we’ll be onto the Yashin Award for the best player at the opposite end of the pitch.
The Polish striker won the inaugural trophy at the award ceremony in Paris
Ballon d’Or 2021: Donnarumma and PSG kick off top 10 reveal
We are back to the countdown!
PSG duo Gigi Donnarumma and Kylian Mbappe come in 10th and ninth respectively. Not an altogether happy look on the striker’s face it must be said!
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