Benzema, Ronaldo, Lewandowski, De Bruyne and Messi were favorites for this year's awards

On July 20, an announcement was made that hit all stakeholders of football hard.

The Ballon d’Or, an annual football award presented by French news magazine, France Football, to the best player in the calendar year, was cancelled.

The organizers cited “lack of a sufficiently level playing field”, caused by the coronavirus pandemic as the reason for the shocking decision. The winner will not be announced for the first time since 1956.

A lot of players put in the work to be recognized this year but would have to wait till next year to stake a claim due to the event’s abandonment.

Among the lot, five players were identified by the Joy Sports team as the biggest losers of the decision following their admirable performances in 2020.

Robert Lewandowski

The Polish striker was tipped by many to be the favorite for this year’s crown. A number of fans were left saddened by the cancellation because of the Bayern Munich star’s form.

The Bundesliga even went as far as publishing an article on their website stating why he was the best candidate to clinch the honor and it is no surprise.

Lewandowski has been nothing short of sensational this campaign, starting the season with a bang and ending the domestic campaign on a high. He fired in 34 Bundesliga goals this season, winning his fifth Torjägerkanone – an award given to the league’s top scorer.

He is currently the Champions League’s top scorer this season with 11 strikes to his name. He also scored six goals in the DFB Cup, the highest tally in the competition. In total, he has found the net 51 times in 43 matches, the highest number in the European golden boot race.

Bayern Munich have been successful on the local scene, winning the Bundesliga for the eighth year running and the DFB cup. They also have one foot in the Champions League quarter-finals thanks to a 3-0 pummeling of Chelsea in the first leg. The Bavarians owe most of their success this season to the 31-year-old.

In the calendar year, Lewandowski has scored 21 goals and assisted a further four, an impressive tally from the former Dortmund finisher.

Lionel Messi

The Argentine has been perceived by many to be on the wane. Some fans even stated that his numbers have been ‘average’ as compared to previous campaigns. However, his performances have showcased that his godlike abilities are still there.

Messi started showing more of his playmaking ability in the 2017/18 season and steadily progressed in the field as time went on. This season, he broke Xavi Hernandez’s assist record by providing 21 assists for his team mates in La Liga. Xavi had provided 20 assists in the 2008/09 campaign.

The 33-year-old magician scored 25 La Liga goals in addition, making him the first player after Thierry Henry to hit the 20+ goals and 20+ assists mark in one league season. Henry scored 24 goals and provided 20 assists in the 2001/02 Premier League season with Arsenal.

Messi has been breaking records every season and in this particular campaign, 11 records have been shattered so far.

His team missed out on domestic trophies this season but still have the Champions League to play for, starting with a round of 16 second leg match against Italian side Napoli. The first leg ended in a 1-1 draw.

In this calendar year, Messi has scored 15 and added 17 assists, showing his immense ability to score and help teammates at the Blaugrana.

Kevin De Bruyne

Despite Manchester City’s fall from grace in the Premier League, Kevin De Bruyne has performed at an astonishingly consistent level this season.

The Belgian playmaker is in pole position to break Thierry Henry’s assists record in the Premier League, after racking up 19 with one match to go. He has also found the net 11 times in 34 league appearances.

The Cityzens managed to retain the Carabao cup thanks to the efforts of De Bruyne and his teammates.

In the Champions League, Manchester City have an advantage over Real Madrid in the round of 16 after beating Los Blancos 2-1 at the Santiago Bernebeu in the first leg.

De Bruyne has scored six times and assisted eight in this calendar year. The goal tally may be small but his influence in Pep Guardiola’s side is undeniable and had a shout in the cancelled awards.

Karim Benzema

Real Madrid triumphed over their competitors in Spain to take home the La Liga trophy this season and most of the praise have gone to Benzema.

L’Equipe, a popular French newspaper described Benzema as ‘the flavor of Real Madrid and of the year’ whilst hyping him as a worthy winner of the Ballon d’Or.

The Frenchman took over the mantle as talisman after Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit in 2018 and has been excellent since.

This season, Benzema found the net on 21 occasions, the second highest tally in La Liga and added eight assists. Karim was considered so important to the side that head coach Zinedine Zidane played him in 37 out of the 38 available La Liga matches, the most appearances in the team.

He has also been excellent in the Champions League with four goals scored in seven matches. The striker will certainly be the go-to-guy as Los Blancos aim to overturn their 2-1 deficit against Manchester City.

Benzema has found the net on 10 occasions whilst adding four assists to the mix in 2020.

Cristiano Ronaldo

The Portuguese superstar started the campaign on a low but eventually turned on the style as the New Year began.

Ronaldo is in the running for Serie A top scorer award after scoring 30 goals, same as Lazio’s hitman Ciro Immobile. He racked up the tally in the same number of matches.

Juventus need two wins to retain the Scudetto and the former Real Madrid winger has been an essential piece to their dominance this season.

The Italian giants are also in contention for the Champions League trophy with a round of 16 second leg showdown to be played against Lyon. Lyon won the first leg with a solitary goal in France.

In 2020, the 35-year-old has scored 20 goals and added five assists to his name, proving that he is still going strong despite his advancement in years.