The annual award is the most prestigious an individual can win in football, being given to the player who has performed the best over the previous 12 months.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have dominated the Ballon d’Or since Ronaldo won it for the first time in 2008, with Luka Modric the only other player to have scooped the award since then after a surprise win in 2018.
Yet this year could be slightly different, with the other challengers for the award closing the gap on Messi and Ronaldo in the past 12 months.
Both Messi and Ronaldo have enjoyed impressive years on an individual level, but neither have hit their true heights since switching clubs in the summer.
The duo have also been hamstrung by their respective clubs underperforming, with Juventus enduring a nightmare season last campaign before Ronaldo switched to a similarly below-par Manchester United, whilst Barcelona ’s financial crisis led to poor performance on the pitch.
Messi achieved international success in the summer, winning the Copa America with Argentina and scoring four goals in the process, but that has not prevented a debate over who will win the Ballon d’Or this year.
Mohamed Salah’s form for Liverpool this season has led plenty to tip the Liverpool star for the award, whilst Jorginho has also been considered a candidate after playing a pivotal role in Chelsea and Italy’s successes in the Champions League and Euro 2020 respectively.
With such a debate, we opted to ask readers who they thought should win the award – and the results were incredibly close, with just 414 votes separating the top two.
Ronaldo and Jorginho both missed out on being named in the top three players of the year, coming fourth and fifth with 13% and 11% of the votes respectively.
Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski finished third in the poll, with 13% of the vote after hitting 20 goals in just 18 appearances so far this season.
There was then a huge gap between Lewandowski and the top two, with Messi beating Salah into first place by an incredibly narrow margin.
Over 15,000 fans voted for Salah to win the award, giving in 28% of the vote, but, with 15,653 votes, Messi was named most likely to be named the winner, and keep his crown from 2020.