Cesar Azpilicueta, N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mason Mount have all been nominated for the 2021 Ballon d’Or after playing instrumental roles in Chelsea’s Champions League and UEFA Super Cup triumphs. Romelu Lukaku has also made the shortlist after helping Inter Milan clinch the Serie A title last term.
Kante produced a string of astounding performances in the knockout stages of last season’s European Cup.
He received man-of-the-match awards after near-flawless displays in the last 16-second leg against Atletico Madrid Madrid, both legs of the semi-final against Real Madrid, and in the final victory over Manchester City.
Unsurprisingly, Kante was named Midfielder of the Season for the 2020/21 Champions League by UEFA last month.
Jorginho, meanwhile, was instrumental alongside Kante and equally impressive throughout the Blues’ run to European glory in Porto.
The midfielder would then follow that up by playing a pivotal role at Euro 2020 for Italy, who beat England in the final at Wembley to win the tournament.
Both players returned late to Chelsea for pre-season training as a result of their involvement in this summer’s European Championship, but both featured in the UEFA Super Cup in Belfast at the start of August.
The Blues faced Europa League winners Villarreal in Northern Ireland and managed to secure yet another trophy with a victory on penalties. Jorginho was on target in the shootout.
Both Chelsea midfielders have been asked this year about potentially winning the Ballon d’Or.
Speaking in June, Kante said: “A few years ago I was in the top 10. It was the first time and it was nice. But winning it is another story.
“It’s a great individual reward. I see it as the result of a good season for the players. It’s not a goal I’m working on. Those who won it in the past are players who have achieved great things during their career.”
Jorginho, who was named UEFA men’s Player of the Year, has been a little more bullish about his chances of scooping the honour, particularly after Italy’s success in the summer.
“We all have dreams,” he told SporTV in August. “But, I’ll be honest, it depends on the criteria that the decision is based on.
“If we’re talking about talent then I know I’m not the best in the world. But if it’s going on titles, then nobody has won more than I have this season.
“How could I compare myself to Messi, Neymar or Cristiano Ronaldo? They’ve got completely different characteristics to me. But, I repeat, it depends on the criteria.”
Azpilicueta started every one of Chelsea’s Champions League knockout stage games last term and memorably lifted the trophy after the Blues overcome Pep Guardiola’s Man City 1-0 in Porto.
The Spaniard is the only Blues player to have won the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, Champions League, Europa League and Super Cup.
Mount was hugely influential in the Blues’ European success, scoring in the quarter-final first leg against Porto and netting in the second leg against Real Madrid. He also played the inch-perfect pass for Kai Havertz’s winner in the final.
Finally, Lukaku has also made the 30-man strong shortlist after leading Inter to their first Scudetto in nine years prior to his move to Stamford Bridge. The Belgian was top scorer and led in assists for the Nerazzurri in Serie A last term.
The quintet have been nominated alongside a host of European stars, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski.
Source by Football London