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The shortlist for 1998 Ballon d'Or was incredibly good

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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.

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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.

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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.

1998 nominees

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

Zidane Celebration

Davor Suker | Real Madrid 68

Ronaldo | Internazionale | 66

Inter Milan's Brazilian forward Ronaldo exults aft

Michael Owen | Liverpool | 51

Rivaldo | Barcelona | 45

FUSSBALL: CL 01/02, FC BARCELONA - BAYER 04 LEVERKUSEN 2:1

Gabriel Batistuta | Fiorentina | 43

Lilian Thuram | Parma | 36

Parma's French defender Lilian Thuram does some st

Edgar Davids | Juventus | 28

Dennis Bergkamp | Arsenal | 28

Dennis Bergkamp of Arsenal with the Goal of the Season award

Marcel Desailly | Chelsea | 19

Frank de Boer | Ajax | 17

Frank de Boer of Holland

Emmanuel Petit | Arsenal | 16

Roberto Carlos | Real Madrid | 13

Real Madrid v Espa x

Laurent Blanc | Marseille | 11

Fabien Barthez | Monaco | 11

Fabien Barthez of Manchester United

Alessandro Del Piero | Juventus | 10

Predrag Mijatovic | Real Madrid | 10

Didier Deschamps | Juventus | 9

Sturm Graz v Inter Milan Didier Deschamps of Juventus

Oliver Bierhoff | AC Milan | 9

Michael Laudrup | Ajax | 6

Danish forward Michael Laudrup (C) is challenged b

Ronald de Boer | Ajax | 4

Raul | Real Madrid | 4

Real Madrid's Raul Gonzalez kisses his r

Brain Laudrup | Chelsea | 3

Clarence Seedorf | Real Madrid | 3

Clarence Seedorf, Diego Simeone and Paulo Sousa

Marc Overmars | Arsenal | 3

Christian Vieri | Lazio | 2

Inter Milan's striker Christian Vieri ce

Fernando Hierro | Real Madrid | 2

David Beckham | Manchester United | 1

David Beckham of Manchester United

Luis Enrique | Barcelona | 1

Bixente Lizarazu | Bayern Munich | 1

Champions League - Bayern Munich v Arsenal

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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Topics:
Zinedine Zidane
Real Madrid
Football
Premier League
Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi
Ballon d'Or
Manchester United
Barcelona

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