The 30-man shortlist for the 2016 Ballon d’Or was released by France Football on Monday.
The list features the biggest names in European football, from unlikely hero Jamie Vardy to five-time winner Lionel Messi.
The winner will be announced in January. Some are ready to anoint Cristiano Ronaldo the winner after he won the Champions League and European Championship, but Messi will certainly run him close.
Quite remarkably, the duo have shared the award for the past eight years. There’s literally been no point in anyone else showing up.
Yet before Messi and Ronaldo emerged on the scene, the Ballon d’Or was up for grabs every year. Between 1989 and 2007, Brazilian Ronaldo and Marco van Basten were the only players to win the award multiple times.
The Ballon d’Or might be bigger today than it was 20 years ago, but it was certainly more intriguing when you didn’t have a clue who the winner would be.
Voters will certainly have had a difficult time choosing the winner in 1998. The shortlist 18 years ago was filled with some ridiculously talented players.
Zinedine Zidane ended up winning the prize after he scored two goals in the World Cup final against Brazil. Check out the 30 players he beat to the award.
The number of points represents how many points each player received in the voting.
Zinedine Zidane | Juventus | 244
Davor Suker | Real Madrid 68
Ronaldo | Internazionale | 66
Michael Owen | Liverpool | 51
Rivaldo | Barcelona | 45
Gabriel Batistuta | Fiorentina | 43
Lilian Thuram | Parma | 36
Edgar Davids | Juventus | 28
Dennis Bergkamp | Arsenal | 28
Marcel Desailly | Chelsea | 19
Frank de Boer | Ajax | 17
Emmanuel Petit | Arsenal | 16
Roberto Carlos | Real Madrid | 13
Laurent Blanc | Marseille | 11
Fabien Barthez | Monaco | 11
Alessandro Del Piero | Juventus | 10
Predrag Mijatovic | Real Madrid | 10
Didier Deschamps | Juventus | 9
Oliver Bierhoff | AC Milan | 9
Michael Laudrup | Ajax | 6
Ronald de Boer | Ajax | 4
Raul | Real Madrid | 4
Brain Laudrup | Chelsea | 3
Clarence Seedorf | Real Madrid | 3
Marc Overmars | Arsenal | 3
Christian Vieri | Lazio | 2
Fernando Hierro | Real Madrid | 2
David Beckham | Manchester United | 1
Luis Enrique | Barcelona | 1
Bixente Lizarazu | Bayern Munich | 1
Nikos Machlas | Vitesse | 1
And that is just the list of players who received votes. Roberto Baggio, Fabio Cannavaro, Pavel Nedved and Andriy Shevchenko were all nominated but didn’t receive any backing.
Who will win the 2016 Ballon d'Or? Let us know in the comments section below!
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