Football

Alexis Sanchez won the Copa America with Chile this summer, but couldn't make the Ballon d'Or shortlist.

Five unfortunate big-name players to miss out on the Ballon d'Or 2016 shortlist

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Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's inclusion in the Ballon d'Or shortlist is a given. In fact, it's all but certain that the La Liga duo will fit the bill for almost as long as they continue to grace the pitch.

But, it must not be forgotten that, although Ronaldo and Messi have dominated the Ballon d'Or since 2008, there is, in fact, a host of other world-class players who deserve their place on the shortlist.

Like anything of this nature, the list of players who have made the cut always throws up a few surprise inclusions, and perhaps a host of world-class players that should, but haven't, made the grade.

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Leicester City's phenomenal Premier League triumph last season has seen the inclusion of two of their star players, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez. While Dimitri Payet's classy performances for West Ham have also put him into the frame for football's biggest individual award.

But while the 30-man shortlist has put smiles on the faces of a select few, here are five players who may feel aggrieved that their performances over the course of the year haven't received the recognition they deserve.

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David De Gea

Just over a year on from the transfer to Real Madrid that never happened, the Spain international may be looking back at what could have been. While Los Blancos won their 11th Champions League crown, the Manchester United goalkeeper had to settle for the FA Cup on the final day of the season.

Louis Van Gaal's reign at Old Trafford may have been short-lived and brought little success, however, without the 25-year-old Manchester United could have been far worse off.

De Gea has provided some crucial saves over the course of 2016 and has already proved this season why he is considered world class talent.

Gerard Pique

Another Spaniard not to make the grade is Pique, who has been ever present at the back for Barcelona for the past eight years.

Spain's exit against Italy in the European Championships this summer is the only blemish in what has been another memorable campaign for the 29-year-old.

FBL-EUR-C1-MOENCHENGLADBACH-BARCELONA

In the year that Pique announced his plans to retire from international duty following the 2018 World Cup, the Spaniard won La Liga, the Copa del Rey, the Spanish Super Cup and UEFA Super Cup.

Pique is the foundation of Luis Enrique's defence and his importance to the team has in no way diminished, which makes his expulsion from the list somewhat surprising.

N'Golo Kante

For a man that was completely unknown in the Premier League just over a year ago, the fact that he has not been included in the Ballon d'Or shortlist shows just how far the France international has come.

The Chelsea midfielder made his name with Leicester City last campaign, as they enjoyed a magical season in which they won the Premier League against all odds. And his dedication and graft for Claudio Ranieri's side is a key factor in the Foxes' league title success.

The way in which the 25-year-old has commanded himself in the Premier League has been exemplary and, if he continues in such a way for the Blues this season, it won't be long before Kante does make the shortlist.

Mesut Ozil

Arsenal may not be known for consistently spending big during the transfer windows, but the Germany midfielder has been worth every penny for the Gunners since his arrival, and the past few year has proved why.

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Ozil topped the Premier League assists charts with 19 last campaign, and has already netted three times this season from midfield. But his class in the centre of the park has put Arsenal on another level over the course of 2016, alongside another big-money signing, Alexis Sanchez.

Alexis Sanchez

The Chilean also hasn't been able to make the grade this year, despite 17 goals for Arsenal last campaign and winning the Copa America with Chile.

Sanchez helped his country to, once again, pip South American giants Argentina to the title and his influence on Arsene Wenger's team never goes unnoticed.

The 27-year-old is a formidable forward who could fit into any of Europe's top clubs. But while he may have not been able to help Arsenal return some silverware back to the Emirates last season, his impact on the Gunners is unquestionable and has fitted in seamlessly upfront for Wenger this season, when required during Olivier Giroud's absence with injury.

Who's the most surprising name not to make the Ballon d'Or shortlist? Have your say in the comment box below.

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Topics:
Leicester City
Alexis Sanchez
La Liga
Gerard Pique
Football
Premier League
Mesut Özil
Manchester United
Barcelona
David de Gea
Arsenal

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