If the COVID pandemic hadn't forced the cancellation of the Ballon d'Or ceremony last year, Robert Lewandowski would almost definitely have won it.
As Bayern Munich won the treble in 2020, the striker led the Bundesliga with 34 goals and hit the back of the net 15 times in the Champions League.
The Ballon d'Or, which was judged by a panel of journalists, ran alongside FIFA from 2010 to 2015, when FIFA split to launch its own – and far less recognized – 'Best Player' award.
But how did the world of football look before Messi and Ronaldo? Since 2000, talkSPORT.com has been researching this topic.
It's also amazing to see who has made the top 10 list of world footballers every year since the millennium began.
1. Luis Figo (Barcelona and Real Madrid) - 2000
2. Michael Owen (Liverpool) - 2001
3. Ronaldo (Inter Milan and Real Madrid) - 2002.
4. Pavel Nedved (Juventus) - 2003.
5. Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan) - 2004
6. Ronaldinho (Barcelona) - 2005
7. Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus and Real Madrid) - 2006
8. Kaka (AC Milan) - 2007
9. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United) - 2008
10. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) - 2009.
11. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) - 2010
12. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) - 2011
13. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) - 2012
14. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) - 2013
15. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) - 2014
16. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) - 2015
17. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) - 2016
18. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) - 2017
19. Luka Modric (Real Madrid) - 2018
20. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) - 2019
21. Ballon d’Or 2020 (cancelled due to COVID pandemic)
22. 2021 ?
All odds point to Lionel Messi defeating Robert Lewandowski for the award, but to put your mind at ease, the winner will be announced tonight by 10:00 p.m. on November 29, 2021.
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