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Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi beaten in Ballon d'Or fan poll

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The countdown to the Ballon d'Or final ceremony in January is now well underway after France Football released the 30-man shortlist of contenders on Monday.

All of the big stars from the last 12 months were included and there were even a few surprise names also nominated to be in with a chance of winning the prestigious accolade.

Arguably two of the most unexpected players to feature were Leicester City's Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez.

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Despite their undeniable efforts in leading the Foxes to a stunning Premier League triumph, their places in the final 30 were far from assured.

The Leicester duo are certainly not considered quite as fashionable as many of the other big names included so it certainly makes a refreshing change to see their performances deservedly recognised.

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Of course, neither are expected to be in serious contention for the award, voted by journalists, as Cristiano Ronaldo remains the heavy favourite to win it.

However, if it was decided by the fans there would actually be a shock victor.

The organisers France Football have conducted a poll to allow supporters to vote for who they think should be named the best player of 2016.

And Leicester's Algerian magician currently tops the list with 39% of the votes, ahead of Lionel Messi (26%) and Ronaldo (20%), as per The Sun.

Leicester City Training and Press Conference

The poll has attracted over two million votes so Messi and Ronaldo fans can't even argue the result being down to a small sample.

Before joining Leicester in 2014, Mahrez had spent most of his career in France which might offer a possible explanation behind the high percentage.

Nevertheless, it is still quite astonishing that the Premier League's Player of the Season for last term has received more backing than two stars who have dominated the Ballon d'Or for the past decade.

FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2015

In fact, Kaka was the last man not named Messi or Ronaldo to pick up the trophy in 2007.

The Barcelona and Real Madrid rivals are both expected to be named in the final three-man shortlist, with Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez also considered in contention for the prize.

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Topics:
Leicester City
Football
Premier League
Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi
Ballon d'Or

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