Lionel Messi beats Cristiano Ronaldo in Marca's Ballon d'Or poll

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Football News

The excitement for the 2016 Ballon d'Or went up a few notches yesterday after France Football announced the 30-man shortlist of contenders.

There weren't too many surprises but David de Gea, Mesut Ozil and Leonardo Bonucci certainly have cause to feel slightly aggrieved for missing out after all three have been in impressive form for their respective teams over the last 12 months.

Nevertheless, the usual suspects of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were included and are expected to fight it out once more for the accolade they have shared each year since 2007.

The Real Madrid star is considered the heavy favourite by almost every bookie after winning the Champions League in May, shortly followed by being triumphant with his country at Euro 2016.

But surprisingly, in a poll set up by Spanish newspaper Marca which asked: 'Who will win the Ballon d'Or?' Ronaldo was not the winner.

The 100,000 voters, in fact, sided with Barcelona's Messi, who garnered a rather large 58% of the vote.

Ronaldo, in comparison, attracted just 26.6% to rank second, however, arguably the most shocking result was the 3.24% of voters who went for Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann.

The French forward is expected to make the final three-man shortlist for the awards ceremony at the start of January after a fantastic year for club and country, but Marca readers clearly don't rate his chances of toppling Messi or Ronaldo.

The Portugal captain's disappointing start to the current season is one possible explanation behind his low support in the Madrid-based newspaper.

Luckily for Ronaldo, fans will not decide who the actual Ballon d'Or goes to.

The voting system has undergone a slight tweak from the last few years after France Football and FIFA decided to go their separate ways and go back to two individual awards rather than one.

This time journalists will have the sole responsibility of picking who has been the best player in the world over the last 12 months whereas, in the recent past, national team coaches and captains have also been allowed to vote.

So there's no need for Ronaldo to start panicking just yet.

Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi
Ballon d'Or
UEFA Champions League

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