The Ballon d'Or is officially back.
After a one-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic, France Football's premier plaque will be contested for the first time since Lionel Messi ousted Virgil van Dijk for the prize in 2019.
While UEFA and FIFA have their own 'player of the year' equivalents, it's widely accepted amongst football fans that the Ballon d'Or is the most prestigious accolade for an individual male footballer.
The Ballon d'Or is back
And with the likes of Messi, Jorginho, Robert Lewandowski and more all fancying their chances to be crowned the best of the best in 2021, it feels great to have the coveted award back in action.
However, lest we forget that France Football still kept their foot on the accelerator throughout all the troubles and turbulence of 2020, even if they decided to pause their regular scheduled programme.
That's because the French publication instead decided to turn their attention to football history as a whole and took on the monumental task of compiling an all-time Ballon d'Or 'Dream Team'.
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Ballon d'Or all-time 'Dream Team'
Over two months of fan voting and deliberating from 140 France Football correspondents from around the world ultimately produced what must simply be considered the greatest XI in history.
Set up in a 3-4-3 formation with any sense of tactical balance thrown out the window, owing to an outrageously attacking approach, the starting XI really is filled to the rafters with footballing royalty.
So, what are you waiting for? Be sure to check out the spectacular 'Dream Team' down below:
The second and third teams
While, yes, we're sure that footballing purists won't be happy that Cafu is essentially playing as a centre-back and Pele is out on the left wing, just look at all that talent. It's simply remarkable.
And we've got to credit both the supporters and journalists for essentially ensuring that Messi, Pele, Diego Maradona, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ronaldo Nazario all managed to share the team together.
However, if some of your favourite footballing legends have missed out on a place in the 'Dream Team' then fear not because you can check out the second and third-string selections below:
So, so, so much talent
You know the talent on display is unbelievable when players like Zinedine Zidane, Johan Cruyff, Ronaldinho, Franco Baresi and Andres Iniesta have to settle for places in the B or C teams.
That being said, perhaps it just goes to show that the strength in depth across football's history is something to be proud of and it really was fantastic to see the Ballon d'Or celebrate that.
No doubt there will be even more history to celebrate when we find out which player will be lifting that famous golden ball on November 29. We can't wait.News Now - Sport News