The Ballon d’Or creates more debate than any regular award in football.
Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo? Individual brilliance or collective achievements?
Well this year’s competition is no different, with several high-profile names failing to make the 30-man shortlist released yesterday.
The full list of contenders are as follows…
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon, David de Gea, Jan Oblak
Defenders: Leonardo Bonucci, Mats Hummels, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos
Midfielders: Philippe Coutinho, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Isco, N’Golo Kante, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric
Strikers: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Karim Benzema, Edinson Cavani, Paulo Dybala, Edin Dzeko, Radamel Falcao, Antoine Griezmann, Harry Kane, Robert Lewandowski, Sadio Mane, Kylian Mbappe, Dries Mertens, Lionel Messi, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez
But what about those who didn’t make the cut?
Well Alexis Sanchez’s absence was the main bugbear for some fans, with the Chilean almost the only saving grace of Arsenal’s dire Premier League campaign whilst also inspiring Chile in the World Cup qualifiers.
Sanchez racked up 30 goals and 15 assists for the Gunners in all competitions last season, compared with nominees Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane who managed just 27 and 15 between them.
Elsewhere, the fact Leonardo Bonucci was included but partner-in-crime Giorgio Chiellini wasn’t has raised further question marks about the selection process.
And Karim Benzema? Really?