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Thierry Henry.

Thierry Henry: Two players can beat Messi and Ronaldo to the Ballon d'Or

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France Football announced the 30-man 2016 Ballon d'Or shortlist on Monday, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi once again due to go head-to-head for the accolade.

It's been a particularly emphatic year for the Real Madrid superstar, who won the Champions League with Los Blancos in May and steered Portugal to Euro 2016 glory in France two months later.

As for Messi, injuries somewhat curtailed his season at Barcelona yet he still scored a 'respectable' 41 goals in all competitions, 26 of which helping Luis Enrique's side along to their second-successive La Liga title.

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Opinion is entirely split over who should emerge victorious at January 7's ceremony, despite the fact Ronaldo is favourite at 1/6, according to Sky Bet.

Even Thierry Henry is struggling to forecast who will come out on top. At a recent Puma event in India, the Frenchman was asked to predict the 2016 Ballon d'Or winner and instead named four players who are in the running.

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He said: "One of [Gareth] Bale, Messi, Ronaldo and [Antoine] Griezmann could win the Ballon d'Or."

Despite claiming Bale and Griezmann can both win the prize, Henry admitted that it's hard to see past the "abnormal" Messi and Ronaldo.

"Those [two] guys are just abnormal," he added. "I've never seen players like them before.

"They score 50 goals, 60 goals, 90 goals a season. It is irrelevant asking if defenders would have stopped them and not fair on defenders of their time. We will never know that."

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Having played with Messi during his three-year spell at Barcelona, Henry couldn't help but voice his support for the Argentine.

"I have played with Leo, so you know how I would feel if he wins. It is difficult to see anyone coming between him and Ronaldo."

Henry certainly isn't alone by not being able to predict who wins the 2016 Ballon d'Or, with Valencia and ex-Manchester United ace Nani recently advocating the very same.

"Messi is a special player and there are very few who can compare with him," he said, per ESPN, "but I know that Cristiano will fight hard with him all year for the Ballon d'Or.

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"Messi is going through a great time at the moment, but things aren't decided yet - and you won't know until the end of the year who is the best in the world."

As for Barcelona legend Xavi, he insists that while Ronaldo's achievements over the past year make him clear favourite, Messi will still run him very close.

"Cristiano has the numbers to win this year's Ballon d'Or, having won the Champions League and the Euros," he said, per Goal.

"But I also think that it'll be very competitive, because Messi will be there, of course."

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Topics:
Thierry Henry
Gareth Bale
La Liga
Real Madrid
Football
Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi
Barcelona
UEFA Champions League

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