The Ballon d’Or is the most prestigious individual prize in football. It is presented by French news magazine France Football to honor the best performing player in the world over the course of a calendar year.
The Ballon d’Or winner is chosen on the basis of a combination of votes from media representatives, national team coaches and captains.
The 2022 Ballon d’Or race is shaping up nicely
This year, we’ve had plenty of standout individual performers. But with the 2021-22 season drawing to a close, we’re starting to see who the real Ballon d’Or contenders this year are.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the Ballon d’Or Power Rankings for the month of May 2022.
#10 Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur)
Son Heung-min has very little chance of making the Ballon d’Or podium this year. But he has definitely been one of the best performing forwards in all of Europe in the 2021-22 season.
The South Korea international was Spurs’ main man as they turned their campaign around under Antonio Conte and secured qualification to the UEFA Champions League. Son scored 24 goals and provided 10 assists in 45 appearances across all competitions for the Lilywhites this term.
He was the joint-top scorer in the Premier League alongside Mohamed Salah. In doing so, Son became the first Asian player ever to win the Golden Boot in any of Europe’s top five leagues.
#9 Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)
Thibaut Courtois has been Real Madrid’s most underrated player this season. His performance in the UEFA Champions League final was phenomenal and the Belgian has truly cemented his place among the modern day greats.
He made nine saves in the Champions League final against Liverpool and it wasn’t a one-off by any stretch of the imagination. Courtois boasts the second highest save percentage among goalkeepers in La Liga this season as well.
The 30-year-old has had a sensational season, winning the La Liga title and the Champions League. His consistency and reliability makes him a top contender in this year’s Ballon d’Or race.
#8 Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
Kevin De Bruyne has enjoyed another stellar campaign with Manchester City. He was named the Premier League Player of the Season for his exploits this term. The Belgium international played a huge role in City sustaining their momentum and pipping a strong Liverpool side to the Premier League title.
In 45 appearances across all competitions so far this season, De Bruyne scored 19 goals and provided 14 assists. He regularly got into goalscoring positions this season and was extremely effective in the final third. However, the Premier League title alone is not going to propel him to the Ballon d’Or podium.
#7 Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
Luka Modric is 36 now but he continues to be one of the best midfielders in the game. The Croatian midfield maestro has had a massive influence on Real Madrid’s fortunes this season. He has been the engine of Carlo Ancelotti’s side and was one of their chief difference makers in the Champions League.
He won the La Liga title, the Champions League title and the Spanish Super Cup with Los Blancos this season. Modric also came up clutch on multiple occasions during the knockout stages of Europe’s elite competition.
In 45 appearances across all competitions, Modric scored three goals and provided 12 assists.
#6 Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)
Strictly on an individual level, it’s hard to argue that any player across Europe has done better than Kylian Mbappe. The French forward continues to terrorize opponents with his pace, trickery and lethal finishing.
The 23-year-old recently extended his contract with PSG until 2025 much to the dismay of Real Madrid. Mbappe has put up spectacular numbers this season but only has the Ligue 1 title in the silverware department.
In 46 appearances across all competitions this season, Mbappe scored a whopping 39 goals and provided 26 assists.
#5 Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
This could have really been Mohamed Salah’s season. The Egypt international came close to having a near-perfect campaign but it ended up being a heartbreaking one for him. Salah was arguably the most in-form player in Europe in the first half of the season.
But his form tailed off towards the business end of the campaign. Salah won the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup with Liverpool. The Merseysiders finished just a point behind Premier League champions Manchester City. They also fell to Real Madrid in the final of the UEFA Champions League.
In 51 appearances across all competitions this term, Salah scored 31 goals and provided 16 assists.
#4 Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
Robert Lewandowski has made a good case for himself in this year’s Ballon d’Or race. Plenty of football fans believe that he should have won it last year and he would have won it in 2020 if the award wasn’t canceled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lewandowski has put up extraordinary numbers this season as well. He scored 50 goals and provided seven assists in 46 appearances across all competitions for the Bavarians. The Poland international also won his eighth Bundesliga title this season.
However, a quarter-final exit from the Champions League at the hands of Villarreal will severely dent Lewandowski’s chances of winning the Ballon d’Or this year.
#3 Vinicius Jr. (Real Madrid)
Real Madrid winger Vinicius Jr. has been the most improved attacker in Europe this season. The Brazilian maverick has been a menacing presence down the left flank for Carlo Ancelotti’s side this term. His tricks, flicks and improved shooting make him one of the most dangerous wingers in the world
The 21-year-old played a massive role in Real Madrid’s La Liga and Champions League triumphs this season. He even scored the winning goal for Real Madrid against Liverpool in the final of the Champions League.
Vinicius scored 22 goals and provided 20 assists in 52 appearances across all competitions for Los Blancos this season.
#2 Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Sadio Mane has had quite a sensational year thus far. After heading into 2022 on the back of nine successive games without a goal, Mane turned his fortunes around since the turn of the year. He guided Senegal to the AFCON 2021 title and was named the ‘Player of the Tournament’.
Mane also helped his national team secure qualification to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The 30-year-old was also in very good form for Liverpool in the second half of the season and successfully transitioned into a centre-forward along the way.
In 51 appearances across all competitions for the Merseysiders this term, Mane scored 23 goals and provided five assists. He won the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup with Liverpool but stopped just short of winning the Premier League and the Champions League titles.
But Mane remains a serious contender in this year’s Ballon d’Or race.
#1 Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Karim Benzema is currently the odds-on favorite to win this year’s Ballon d’Or. At the age of 34, Benzema has had the best season of his career at an individual level. The Frenchman has been unrelenting this season and produced several game-changing performances for Real Madrid in the knockout stages of the Champions League.
He was the standout performer for Carlo Ancelotti’s side as they won the La Liga title and the Champions League title. A tally of 44 goals and 15 assists from 46 appearances across all competitions ought to be enough to take Benzema to his maiden Ballon d’Or award.