The 2022 Ballon d'Or ceremony is still a few weeks away from us, but fans are already looking forward to it. Though the winner won't be known until Monday, October 17, a leak has already gone viral on the Internet. Surprisingly, the list doesn't show Robert Lewandowski or Kylian Mbappe in the top spots.
The Pole striker came close to winning the award last year, losing to Lionel Messi in a controversial decision. In his final season with Bayern Munich, Lewandowski once again posted incredible numbers. Still, the leak suggests he didn't do enough to impress the jury.
As for Mbappe, it's fair to say he was the only bright spot of Paris Saint-Germain last term. While PSG as a team left a lot to be desired, the Frenchman put the team on his back throughout the Ligue 1 campaign as well as in crucial UEFA Champions League nights. But the leaked results have many other players ahead of him.
First leak of 2022 Ballon d'Or has neither Lewandowski nor Mbappe among top 3
With the highly anticipated gala drawing nearer, the first leak has come to light on social media, going viral in a matter of minutes. As expected, Karim Benzema leads the list with 27 points.
Needless to say, the Real Madrid star is the strongest candidate for the Ballon d'Or after a fantastic performance both in Europe and Spain. The veteran striker is way ahead of the rest according to this leak, with Sadio Mane 11 points shy of Benzema in second place.
Former Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah appears below Mane with 14 points. Lewandowski is found in fifth place with nine points, only one less than Brazilian winger Vinicius Junior—who scored the game-winning goal in last season's UCL final for Real Madrid.
Mbappe, meanwhile, is sixth but three points shy of Lewandowski, who took his talents to FC Barcelona this season. Lower on the leaked list are Kevin De Bruyne, Luka Modric, Erling Haaland, Thibaut Courtois, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Son Heung-Min. Either way, we'll have to wait for at least 18 more days to know the official results. Until then, all of this will be mere rumors.