Power ranking Chelsea’s five Ballon d’Or nominees
Chelsea have won several of football’s most prestigious awards in the last year.
The Blues are the reigning European Champions and UEFA Super Cup winners. They’ve also had individual success, with a few players taking home trophies at the Champions League draw award ceremony.
UEFA Manager of the Year was Thomas Tuchel, UCL Goalkeeper of the Year was Edouard Mendy, UCL Midfielder of the Year was N’Golo Kante, and UEFA Men’s Player of the Year was Jorginho. However, there is still silverware to be won.
Chelsea’s players have rarely come close to winning football’s most prestigious individual award, the Ballon d’Or. Nonetheless, there will be several Blues vying for the trophy this season. After a one-year hiatus (due to the impact of COVID-19), the French Football Award will be presented on November 29.
It goes without saying that there are some pleasant surprises as well as some snubs. Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy was widely regarded as the most notable. Regardless, the Senegalese shot stopper has a long career ahead of him. If he continues on his current path, his name will almost certainly be on a similar list in 2022.
Here are Chelsea’s five Ballon d’Or candidates ordered by their likelihood to win the award:
It feels natural for Cesar Azpilicueta to be nominated for a Ballon d’Or. Over the last eight years, the Spaniard has been critical to the Blues’ success, playing a significant role in a number of trophy pursuits.
The 32-year-old is without a doubt one of the Premier League’s, if not the world’s, most underappreciated players. However, the chances of him ever winning the Ballon d’Or are slim to none. This is not an indictment of Azpilicueta; defenders simply do not receive enough respect in the voting booth. Being named to the shortlist is enough for Azpilicueta; it’s nice to know that his greatness is finally being recognized.
Mason Mount built on his outstanding debut season last year by securing a spot in the starting XI under two coaches.
Chelsea struggled to play from the back in Mount’s absence against Manchester City. The 22-year-old bridges the gap between the back line and the forwards.
Mount’s surface stats aren’t spectacular (nine goals and nine assists in all competitions last season), but they were significant contributions. He earned the Blues crucial points down the stretch in the Premier League, and his efforts in the UCL should not be overlooked.
During his sophomore season with the west London club, Mount was named Chelsea’s Player of the Year. Unfortunately, this will only earn him brownie points when it comes to Ballon d’Or voting.
Romelu Lukaku is the lone outlier on this list. He is the only player on the list who did not play for the Blues last season.
In any case, his contributions at Inter Milan last season more than compensated for his lack of Champions League and Super League trophies.
In Conte’s Internazionale team that won the Scudetto for the first time in a decade, Lukaku led the line alongside Lautaro Martinez.
The Belgian No. 9 is one of the best strikers in the world, and his statistics speak for themselves.
Lukaku scored 30 goals in total, including 24 in 36 Serie A games.
The assist totals, on the other hand, are one of the most significant advantages of playing in a striker partnership.
Under Conte, the 28-year-old tacked on double-digit assists throughout the season, bringing his goal contribution total to 40.
Lukaku is expected to finish near the top of the list. Forwards are a favorite of Ballon d’Or voters, and there aren’t many better than the Belgian.
Since joining Chelsea, Kante has been a world-class player. He’s a man who never fails to rise to the occasion, whether it’s over the course of a Premier League season or just one leg of a Europa League final against a bitter rival.
Despite suffering from injuries early in the season, Kante demonstrated his world-class abilities throughout the year.
The most notable example of this was his historic run in the Champions League knockout rounds.
Kante won three Man of the Match awards in the final stages of the competition. The most impressive aspect of this feat? They appeared in both semifinals and the final.
Unfortunately, a defensive midfielder would require assistance in order to win the award.
France needed to go on a deep run in Euro 2020 for Kante to have a realistic chance of winning the Ballon d’Or.
This was unlikely after Didier Deschamps’ team had a disappointing tournament. This stance was reinforced by Kante’s slow start to the 2021/22 season.
Jorginho was a contentious figure on the Chelsea team a year ago. He didn’t exactly fit into Lampard’s vision of a midfield, which raised concerns about his future at Stamford Bridge.
Tuchel’s appointment was crucial for the maestro’s career because the midfield pivot ahead of the back three allowed Jorginho to do what he does best: direct play from the center of the field.
Jorginho became unstoppable in the Blues’ starting XI, regardless of whether he was paired with N’Golo Kante or Mateo Kovacic.
Jorginho was instrumental in Chelsea’s European double (Champions League and Super Cup), as well as Italy’s winning streak in Euro 2020.
A triple European champion doesn’t come along very often, so he’ll get some style points for that.
Earlier this season, Jorginho was named UEFA’s Men’s Player of the Year. These four trophies will be difficult for anyone at Chelsea, let alone anyone in Europe, to win.
The unfortunate reality, as has been stated numerous times, is that it is nearly impossible for anyone other than a forward to win the Ballon d’Or.
The last person to win the award who was as defensive-minded as Jorginho was Fabio Cannavaro in 2006. Aside from that, it’s been a healthy dose of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and a dash of attacking midfielders.
There is no denying that players like Robert Lewandowski and Lionel Messi are worthy challengers to Jorginho for the Ballon d’Or.
Nonetheless, no one has been more important to his club or country in the last year than the midfield maestro. Jorginho has the hardware to back it up, but will he be able to take home football’s most prestigious individual award next month?
Power ranking Chelsea’s five Ballon d’Or nominees