Benzema, De Bruyne Lead Race For Ballon D’Or

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The five leading contenders for this year’s Ballon d’Or have been revealed, with Mohamed Salah and Lionel Messi reportedly not making the cut.

Defending Ballon d’Or champion, Messi and Salah, who’s enjoying an ultra-prolific season at Liverpool, are reportedly not in the running for the coveted individual prize.

That’s according to French outlet L’Equipe, who claim Karim Benzema, Kevin De Bruyne, Sadio Mane, Kylian Mbappe and Robert Lewandowski are the candidates to win the 2022 Ballon d’Or award.

Benzema has starred for Real Madrid this season, scoring 37 goals in all competitions including back-to-back hat tricks in the Champions League against Paris Saint-Germain then Chelsea.

As ever, De Bruyne has been extremely influential for Manchester City, scoring and creating goals in the Premier League and Champions League. Salah’s teammate Mane is also thought to be in the running, having weighed in with 13 goals in all competitions this term.

Not to mention Mbappe and Lewandowski, who have bagged 31 and 46 goals in all competitions for PSG and Bayern Munich respectively. France Football have altered the rules for the Ballon d’Or voting, with the award set to be based on performances over a single season, rather than a calendar year.

That means performances at the upcoming 2022 World Cup will not be considered for this year’s award, and instead will be judged when voting for the 2023 Ballon d’Or begins.

​The prestigious individual award should also reflect the best footballers from each season, rather than those who lift the most trophies