A Ballon d'Or gala in Paris dominated by Barcelona representation

Monday's award winners could all have more than a little bit to do with the Catalan club

| sport

Sergi Capdevila

The Théatre du Chatelet in Paris will be the setting for the Ballon d'Or on Monday as France Football brings together football's biggest start to reward the best players and coaches from 2021. The ceremony will have a heavy Barcelona representation.

Save a huge surprise, the women's Ballon d'Or will be given to a Barça player. The Blaugrana had a sublime season, winning the treble, and five players (Irene Paredes, Sandra Paños, Jennifer Hermoso, Lieke Martens and Alexia Putellas) have been nominated for the award. Lluis Cortes, who left the club in the summer after a record-breaking season, has also been nominated for the best coach prize.

Barça will also be present in other moments of the evening. For starters, the men's Ballon d'Or is likely to end up in the hands of a player who is a Camp Nou legend and who, if he does win it, will do so in part thanks to Barça. We are talking, of course, of Lionel Andres Messi, who is targetting the award for the seventh time.

Messi scored 38 goals, set up 14 more and won the Copa del Rey during a complicated season with Barça. The differential factor, however, is his Copa America success with Argentina. It was the first international trophy for the football-mad country in 28 years. The main rivals to Messi are Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema.

But wait, there's more. Pedri is also in the running to win the Kopa Award for the best player in the world under 21 -- and he's also among the finalists for the Ballon d'Or. With the Golden Boy already in his pocket (he will receive it at a ceremony in Turin in December), the Barcelona player could add another trophy to his cabinet. His main rivals? Musiala (Bayern Munich), Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen), Bellingham and Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Nuno Mendes (PSG), Greenwood (M. United), Saka (Arsenal), Doku (Rennes) and Gravenberch (Ajax).

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