France Football have revealed the entire 30-man shortlist for the 2017 Ballon D’or and while there are a few notable inclusions, none would be non-warranted.
Unsurprisingly, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the front-runners and after dominating the award for the past decade, either of one of the duo will likely take home this year’s gong as well.
In fact, one could argue that the Portuguese superstar is a heavy favourite to beat his arch-rival for after winning the Champions League and the La Liga both, Ronaldo has a stronger case than the Barcelona forward.
Napoli duo Dries Mertens and Edin Dzeko are the inclusions that seem to have surprised many but their statistics for the 2017-18 season have been nothing short of sensational and they fully deserve their recognition.
Real Madrid midfielder Isco makes the shortlist for the first time in his career after dazzling for Los Blancos in the UEFA Champions League and La Liga both, but his teammate Gareth Bale is one of the notable absentees from the list.
The Premier League has a few representatives in the list, with David de Gea (Manchester United), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), N’Golo Kane (Chelsea), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Sadio Mane and Philippe Coutinho (both Liverpool) making the cut.
PSG’s expensively assembled attack triumvirate of Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar all featuring. Neymar, the world’s most expensive player of all time, is a strong contender to finish on the podium along with Ronaldo and Messi.
Messi’s strike-partner for Barcelona, Luis Suarez, is another contender but surprisingly the Catalan club has no other players in the elite list.
In stark contrast, their arch-rivals Real Madrid have plenty of players, with Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric, Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos and the aforementioned duo of Ronaldo and Isco all prominent.
Benzema’s inclusion is the sole controversial one as the French forward has not been representing his national team for a while now and his club season was not particularly impressive either.
Atletico Madrid duo Antoine Greizmann and Jan Oblak are the Rojiblancos’ representative and the former is one of the contenders to make the podium.
Paulo Dybala and Gianluigi Buffon, two players at the opposite stages of their careers, are Juventus’ nominees with former teammate Leonardo Bonucci (now at AC Milan) also featuring.
From the Bundesliga, Mats Hummels and Manuel Neuer, Robert Lewandowski (all three Bayern Munich) feature, as does Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund).
The entire list:
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund/Gabon)
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid/France)
Leonardo Bonucci (AC Milan/Italy)
Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus/Italy)
Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain/Uruguay)
Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool/Brazil)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid/Portugal)
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City/Belgium)
David De Gea (Manchester United/Spain)
Paulo Dybala (Juventus/Argentina)
Edin Dzeko (AS Roma/Bosnia)
Radamel Falcao (AS Monaco/Colombia)
Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid/France)
Eden Hazard (Chelsea/Belgium)
Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich/Germany)
Isco (Real Madrid/Spain)
Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur/England)
N’Golo Kante (Chelsea/France)
Toni Kroos (Real Madrid/Germany)
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich/Poland)
Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain/France)
Sadio Mane (Liverpool/Senegal)
Marcelo (Real Madrid/Brazil)
Dries Mertens (Napoli/Belgium)
Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona/Argentina)
Luka Modric (Real Madrid/Croatia)
Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain/Brazil)
Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid/Slovenia)
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid/Spain)
Luis Suarez (FC Barcelona/Uruguay).