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Ballon d’Or Vardy, Mahrez on longlist

The French football magazine released the names of 30 nominees of the 2016 Ballon d’Or on Monday.

  • Published:
Jamie Vardy play Jamie Vardy (Sky Sports)

Leicester City heroes Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, stars in their team’s fairytale run to the Premier League title last season, have been named on a 30-player longlist for the 2016 Ballon d’Or.

Riyad Mahrez play Riyad Mahrez
 

The French football magazine released the names of 30 nominees of the 2016 Ballon d’Or on Monday.

The list was released in batches of five players.

Vardy – who has enjoyed a meteoric rise from amateur football to rub shoulders with the game’s biggest names – is the sole Englishman nominated for the prestigious prize award.

France Football magazine is organising the trophy on its own after the end of a partnership with FIFA in September.

The Foxes pair are among eight Premier League stars on the list.

Three-time world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo and last year’s victor Lionel Messi, who has won it five times, are among the favourites to take the prize once again.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi play Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi (Reuters)

 

Ronaldo, who took home the award in 2008, 2013 and 2014, set himself up for a potential fourth Ballon d’Or after captaining Portugal to Euro 2016 glory and helping Real Madrid to an 11th Champions League triumph.

Other members of Madrid’s Champions League-winning campaign have been recognised as well. They are Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Sergio Ramos and Pepe.

Gareth Bale play Gareth Bale (Getty Images)

 

Pepe and Ronaldo are also joined on the list by Sporting Lisbon’s Rui Patricio, who kept goal in Portugal’s run to Euro glory.

Atletico Madrid and France striker Antoine Griezmann is another leading contender. However, his compatriot Karim Benzema is not on the list, the Real Madrid striker’s year having been overshadowed by the sextape blackmail affair which led to him being frozen out of the national team ahead of the Euros.

Antoine Griezmann play Antoine Griezmann (AFP/File)

 

The winner will be determined by a vote of journalists – national team captains and managers will no longer have a say after the ending of the five-year deal between France Football and FIFA.

The first Ballon d’Or was won by Stanley Matthews, at the time with Blackpool, who beat Alfredo Di Stefano for the inaugural title in 1956.

FULL LIST

Sergio Aguero (ARG/Manchester City), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (GAB/Borussia Dortmund), Gareth Bale (WAL/Real Madrid), Gianluigi Buffon (ITA/Juventus), Cristiano Ronaldo (POR/Real Madrid), Kevin De Bruyne (BEL/Manchester City), Paulo Dybala (ARG/Juventus), Diego Godin (URU/Atletico Madrid), Antoine Griezmann (FRA/Atletico Madrid) and Gonzalo Higuain (ARG/Juventus).

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (SWE/Manchester United), Andres Iniesta (ESP/Barcelona), Koke (ESP/Atletico Madrid), Toni Kroos (GER/Real Madrid), Robert Lewandowski (POL/Bayern Munich), Hugo Lloris (FRA/Tottenham Hotspur), Riyad Mahrez (ALG/Leicester City) and Lionel Messi (ARG/Barcelona).

Luka Modric (CRO/Real Madrid), Thomas Mueller (GER/Bayern Munich), Manuel Neuer (GER/Bayern Munich), Neymar (BRA/Barcelona), Dimitri Payet (FRA/West Ham United), Paul Pogba (FRA/Manchester United), Pepe (POR/Real Madrid) and Rui Patricio (POR/Sporting Lisbon).

Sergio Ramos (ESP/Real Madrid), Luis Suarez (URU/Barcelona), Jamie Vardy (ENG/Leicester City) and Arturo Vidal (CHI/Bayern Munich).

Do Mahrez and Vardy deserve to appear on this list?»

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