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Ballon d'Or shortlist confirmed as Lionel Messi vies with Man Utd and Liverpool stars

Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d'Or six times in his illustrious career and the Paris Saint-Germain star is up for the award once again, with Premier League players heavily represented on the 30-man shortlist

The full list of 30 names competing to win the Ballon d’Or has been published with Lionel Messi in contention to win his seventh crown.

The Paris Saint-Germain star, who left Barcelona this summer after 21 years at the club to join the Ligue 1 giants, has already won the award six times in his illustrious career.

But while the 34-year-old is the favourite to add to his collection, the Argentine magician could face competition from several Premier League stars.

Liverpool star Mohamed Salah, who finished in fourth in the 2019 edition, has been tipped to rival Messi for the award.

The Egyptian is the sole member from Liverpool this year after Jurgen Klopp’s side put in a disappointing title defence.

Just under half of the nominees on the 30-man shortlist are playing in the Premier League, with Chelsea and Manchester City each having five players represented.

The Blues have had four members of their Champions League-winning squad nominated, with Cesar Azpilicueta, N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mason Mount making the cut.

Their £97.5million summer signing Romelu Lukaku has also made the list, having scored 24 goals in the Serie A last season to help Inter Milan win the Serie A for the first time in 10 years.

But there was no place for Edouard Mendy, despite keeping 10 clean sheets in his 12 Champions League matches, with Italy’s Euro 2020 winning stopper Gianluigi Donnarumma the only goalkeeper on the list.

Man City have continued their tradition with having a player nominated every year since Pep Guardiola took over.

Guardiola’s side won the Premier League for the third time in four years and reached the Champions League final before a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Chelsea.

Ruben Dias, Riyad Mahrez, Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden have all been included after a strong year for the English champions.

Manchester United ’s Portuguese duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes have been recognised for their efforts.

And Harry Kane, who scored 23 goals in the Premier League to win the Golden Boot last season, is the only other English player included along with Mount and Sterling.

Robert Lewandowski is also thought to be vying with his fellow attackers for the gong, after scoring an incredible 41 goals in the Bundesliga last season to break Gerd Muller’s record.

However, the award was not presented in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, meaning Lewandowski could miss out on his maiden Ballon d'Or trophy.

The full 30-man shortlist for the 2021 Ballon d'Or:

Cesar Azpilicueta (Spain/Chelsea)

Nicolo Barella (Italy/Inter Milan)

Karim Benzema (France/Real Madrid)

Leonardo Bonucci (Italy/Juventus)

Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium/Manchester City)

Giorgio Chiellini (Italy/Juventus)

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Manchester United & Juventus)

Ruben Dias (Portugal/Manchester City)

Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy/PSG)

Bruno Fernandes (Portugal/Manchester United)

Phil Foden (England/Manchester City)

Erling Haaland (Norway/Borussia Dortmund)

Harry Kane (England/Tottenham)

Jorginho (Italy/Chelsea)

N'Golo Kante (France/Chelsea)

Simon Kjaer (Denmark/AC Milan)

Robert Lewandowski (Poland/Bayern Munich)

Romelu Lukaku (Belgium/Chelsea & Inter Milan)

Riyad Mahrez (Algeria/Manchester City)

Lautaro Martinez (Argentina/Inter Milan)

Kylian Mbappe (France/PSG)

Lionel Messi (Argentina/PSG & Barcelona)

Luka Modric (Croatia/Real Madrid)

Gerard Moreno (Spain/Villarreal)

Mason Mount (England/Chelsea)

Neymar (Brazil/PSG)

Pedri (Spain/Barcelona)

Mohamed Salah (Egypt/Liverpool)

Raheem Sterling (England/Manchester City)

Luis Suarez (Uruguay/Atletico Madrid)