Michael Owen backing La Liga star to win the Ballon d'Or

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The 30-man shortlist for the Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo award - sorry, the Ballon d’Or - was released by France Football earlier in the week.

Messi and Ronaldo have owned the award for the past eight years - not since 2007 has anybody else won it.

And it would be a major surprise to see anyone other than Messi or Ronaldo win it in 2016.

Thierry Henry attempted to make a case for Gareth Bale and Antoine Griezmann, but it didn't take him long to admit that it's a two-horse race.

“One of Bale, Messi, Ronaldo and Griezmann could win the Ballon d'Or,” Henry told reporters, via the Indian Express.

However, Henry quickly conceded that the gong will likely fall to Messi or Ronaldo.

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

"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.

"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."

Michael Owen's pick

So we should all be thankful to Michael Owen for backing a different player to collect the prestigious individual accolade.

Owen won the award in 2001 and it’s not surprising to hear him endorse another member of the strikers' union in an interview with France Football.

“If I had to choose a centre forward for my dream team, Luis Suarez would be the player, without hesitation,” the former Liverpool and Real Madrid forward said, via Mundo Deportivo.

“I like all kinds of players, but especially strikers and he has it all. He’s the best in the world in his position and a player who deserves any award.”

Suarez is on fire

Suarez collected the Pichichi award last season after scoring 40 goals for Barcelona as they pipped Real Madrid to the La Liga title.

The Uruguayan is showing no signs of slowing down, either. He’s already scored 10 goals this season and we haven’t even reached November.

Owen continued: “Suarez is fabulous. If I were a manager and could sign someone to be my centre forward, he would always be the first name on my list.

“He has absolutely all the qualities required for that position and no one in football overcomes him as a centre forward.”

Who will win the 2016 Ballon d'Or? Let us know in the comments section below!

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La Liga
Michael Owen
Real Madrid
Luis Suarez
Premier League
Lionel Messi
Ballon d'Or

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