Cristiano Ronaldo lost ground in his quest to claim more Ballon d’Or awards than his rival Lionel Messi, finishing sixth while the Argentine claimed a historic seventh award.
It is the first time the Portugal forward, who was not in attendance at the ceremony in Paris on Monday, has not been named in the top three since 2010, when Messi – who won his second prize that year – was joined by then Barcelona team-mates Andres Iniesta and Xavi.
Ronaldo managed 30 goals at club level in 2021 for Juventus and Manchester United, while also becoming the all-time top scorer in men’s international football.
— Ballon d’Or #ballondor (@francefootball) November 29, 2021
The 36-year-old finishes above Paris Saint-Germain pair Gianluigi Donnarumma and Kylian Mbappe as well as Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne and Liverpool attacker Mohamed Salah.
Salah and Mbappe both outscored Ronaldo at club level this calendar year, scoring 32 and 37 goals across all competitions, but finished seventh and ninth respectively.
Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante and Real Madrid centre-forward Karim Benzema claimed the fifth and fourth spots, with Ronaldo’s former team-mate enjoying a prolific year, managing 34 goals and 12 assists for Los Blancos in all competitions.
Jorginho, who won the Euros with Italy and claimed the Champions League with Chelsea, makes it into the top three behind Messi and Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, who finished second but won the inaugural Striker of the Year award.
Lewandowski had been considered the favourite before then, partly due to breaking Gerd Muller’s long-standing record of 40 goals in a single Bundesliga season, while he has netted 53 times in 2021.
The Poland striker looked likely to have won the award in 2020 before it was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ballon d’Or top 10:
1. Lionel Messi (PSG and Argentina)
2. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich and Poland)
3. Jorginho (Chelsea and Italy)
4. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid and France)
5. N’Golo Kante (Chelsea and France)
6. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United and Portugal)
7. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool and Egypt)
8. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City and Belgium)
9. Kylian Mbappe (PSG and France)
10. Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG and Italy)