Five-time winner Lionel Messi is among the latest nominees to be announced by France Football on the shortlist for this year’s Ballon d’Or.
The 29-year-old forward helped Barcelona to a domestic double in Spain this season but missed out on Copa America Centenario glory with Argentina, while rival Cristiano Ronaldo’s success in the Champions League with Real Madrid and at Euro 2016 with Portugal has established him as favourite to usurp Messi this time around.
Riyad Mahrez enjoys his first nomination, having inspired Leicester City to a remarkable Premier League title triumph with displays that secured him the PFA Player of the Year award in England.
Tottenham and France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is included despite a season of near misses at club and international level last season.
Thomas Muller is shortlisted for the sixth time in seven years after Bayern Munich continued their dominance of German football and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric is the latest of Real Madrid’s Champions League winners to be recognised.
The 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or – which is back under the sole auspice of France Football this year following a split with FIFA – is being revealed in alphabetical five-man groups throughout Monday.
Sergio Aguero, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Gareth Bale, Gianluigi Buffon, Ronaldo, Kevin De Bruyne, Paulo Dybala, Diego Godin, Antoine Griezmann, Gonzalo Higuain, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Andres Iniesta, Koke, Toni Kroos and Robert Lewandowski are the other names in the running.