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Karim Benzema and Kevin De Bruyne among leading contenders for Ballon d’Or

Karim Benzema - Real Madrid
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Five leading contenders for this year’s Ballon d’Or have been revealed and there are some shocking omissions.

Karim Benzema and Kevin De Bruyne have been named as leading contenders for this year’s Ballon d’Or, but some prominent names miss out on the list.

Defending winner Lionel Messi misses out while Liverpool’s top-scorer this season, Mohamed Salah, is left out too.

The five names according to French outlet L’Equipe are Benzema, De Bruyne, Sadio Mane, Kylian Mbappe, and Robert Lewandowski.

Benzema has been in fine form for Real Madrid this season, scoring 37 goals across all competitions to date, including back-to-back hat-tricks in the Champions League against Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea.

De Bruyne’s has been equally influential for Manchester City who are looking to clinch yet another Premier League title and possibly get their hands on the elusive Champions League trophy.

Surprisingly Salah’s teammate Mane makes the list over the Egyptian, but the Senegalese has 13 goals of his own across competitions this term. Meanwhile, Mbappe and Lewandowski have scored 31 and 46 goals, respectively, for PSG and Bayern Munich.

Lewandowski was the favourite for the award last year, but was beaten by Messi, who fails to make the top five this year.

France Football have altered the rules for the 2022 Ballon d’Or, with the award set to be handed on the basis of performances over a single season, rather than a calendar year, and the upcoming 2022 World Cup will not be accounted for this year, but will be taken into consideration when voting for the 2023 Ballon d’Or begins.