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Ballon d'Or

Why is the Ballon d'Or cancelled for 2020 and who could have won it?

17:50 GMT 06/11/2020
Ballon d'Or Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski was the frontrunner in Europe this season, but he won't be lifting the prestigious Ballon d'Or trophy this year

There will be no annual Ballon d'Or ceremony this year, so the football world will have to wait another year to potentially see a non-Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo footballer crowned with the highest individual honour.

But why was the ceremony cancelled, and who could have won it? Goal takes a look.

Why is the 2020 Ballon d'Or cancelled?

The 2020 Ballon d'Or has been cancelled due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the football calendar.

France Football, who organise the ceremony, stated that the several months of disruptions caused by coronavirus has made it impossible to treat the 2019-20 season as a regular year to judge football properly and fairly.

It will be the first time in Ballon d'Or history that the award has been cancelled.

France Football editor-in-chief Pascal Ferre stated: "There will be no edition in 2020, because it turns out, after thoughtful consideration, that all the conditions are not met. We believe that such a singular year cannot -- and should not -- be treated as an ordinary one. 

"From a sports perspective, two months [January and February], out of the 11 generally required to form an opinion and decide who should lift the trophies, represent far too little to gauge and judge; without forgetting that the other games were played -- or will be played -- in unusual conditions [behind closed doors, with five replacements, Champions League's Final eight played in a single game].

"Finally, the equality that is required for this honorary title will not be met, especially when it comes to assessing performance and preparation: all the award contenders will not be in the same boat, some having seen their season cut short.

"Therefore, how can we establish a fair comparison? To avoid overly convoluted calculations and projections, we chose the least bad of the options."

The Ballon d'Or ceremony will return in December 2021.

Who could have won the 2020 Ballon d'Or?

The cancellation of the award serves as a huge blow to Bayern star Robert Lewandowski, who looked to be the frontrunner of the prize.

The Poland international had been in monstrous form for the German giants last season, netting over 50 goals and clinching the treble.

He was top-scorer in the 2019-20 Champions League with 15 goals, his strikes instrumental in winning Bayern Munich their sixth title.

Messi currently edges out formal rival Ronaldo to six Ballons d'Or to Ronaldo's five, but neither were considered major frontrunner for this year's award should it not have been cancelled.

Both had disappointing seasons based on their usual standards, with Messi's Barcelona failing to win single piece of silverware.

Barcelona's 8-2 humiliation to Bayern in the Champions League was a nail in the coffin, while Ronaldo lifted just the Serie A with Juventus.

"If I’m Lewandowski and they have cancelled the Ballon d’Or, I’m starting up a petition to get it back on," Rio Ferdinand told TEAMtalk

"I can’t believe they have cancelled it. It’s cruel, that is a good word to describe it. Lewandowski deserves to win that award for what he has done this season and if he leads Bayern Munich to the Champions League and they still decide they won’t give it out to him, it’s not right."