Predicting the Chances of Inter, Juventus and Italy Stars in Final Ballon d’Or List

After taking a hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, France Football is once again organizing the most prestigious individual award in the sport. In the past decade or so, Italian football has somewhat been overlooked on the big stage. The last Serie A player to lift the Ballon d’Or was Kaka in 2007, while the last Italian to do so was Fabio Cannavaro 12 months earlier.

Since then, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have dominated the winners’ list, finishing on top on 11 combined occasions, while Luka Modric remains the only man who managed to break the duopoly back in 2018.

Thanks to a triumphant Euro 2020 campaign, the Azzurri are represented by five candidates amongst the 30 nominees released earlier this week. Three of them ply their trade in the Italian top tier, and with Lautaro Martinez and Simon Kjaer receiving recognitions as well, Serie A has five stars in the list.

While most of them are outsiders on the list, we’ll try to predict where the Italian and Serie A players will finish on the list once the Ballon d’Or winner is revealed on November 29, starting with the least likely to compete for the top spots, all the way up to the most likely.

7- Simon Kjaer (Milan/Denmark)

The Denmark international is enjoying a marvelous late-career revival. After spending years as a journeymen, Milan offered him the opportunity to prove his worth on the big stage one, and he grabbed it with both hands.

Furthermore, the former Roma and Palermo man won the hearts of the neutrals during his national team’s heart-warming Euro 2020 campaign, starting with Christian Eriksen’s horrific collapse all the way to their brave Semi Final battle against England.

And yet, he’ll probably end up finishing at rock bottom on the final list.

6- Nicolò Barella (Inter/Italy)

Hard working midfielders are not always recognized by top individual prizes, but the Inter star enjoyed a stellar campaign that grabbed the attention of fans and observers alike.

The 24-year-old played an integral part in Antonio Conte’s Scudetto winning side, before joining the national team and lending a hand for the Azzurri who went on to win the European Championship.

However, we expect the former Cagliari man to finish amongst the last on the 30-man list.

5- Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus/Italy)

Almost a year ago, the Juventus captain was contemplating retirement following a serious of recurring injuries. And yet, the 37-year-old always manages to bounce back to produce colossal performances whenever his club and country need him the most.

Nonetheless, defenders rarely finish too high on these lists, and it’s enough to mention the fact that Cannavaro remains the last defender to lift the award.

We expect ‘King Giorgio’ to land somewhere in the bottom 10.

4- Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus/Italy)

Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci are often spoken of in the same breath, and therefore, they will probably end up finishing no too far from one another.

But for one reason or another, Leo was often favored above his longtime teammate when it came to individual awards, and his scrappy but vital goal in the Grand Wembley Final could give him the edge once more.

3- Lautaro Martinez (Inter/Argentina)

The Inter striker is the only non-Italian on this list alongside Kjaer, but his chances will also be boosted by Argentina’s Copa America triumph.

Last season, Romelu Lukaku was chosen as the MVP of the Serie A season, but Lautaro also played a major part in the Nerazzurri’s domestic revival, and we expect him to finish somewhere in the middle of the pack in the final Ballon d’Or list.

2- Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG/Italy)

Whatever we said about defenders and hard working midfielders also applies on goalkeepers who can often be overlooked by the organizers.

And yet, the former Milan shot-stopper was voted as the best player in Euro 2020 following his heroics, which gives him a significant boost, and perhaps allows him to push for a Top 10 finish.

1- Jorginho (Chelsea/Italy)

The Chelsea Maestro spent his summer collecting trophies. After being crowned as a Champions League winner with the Blues (and later adding the UEFA Super Cup) he went on to lift the Euro 2020 trophy with Italy, marking himself as the ultimate European champion in 2021.

Realistically speaking, the former Napoli and Verona is the only Italian on the list who can compete for the award after playing a pivotal part in the success of both club and country – even his credentials sparked a huge debate.

Although we expect him to eventually miss out on the award in favor of a bigger household name (the likes of Messi and Robert Lewandowski), he arguably did enough to cement himself a spot amongst the Top 5.

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