Best in the World: France Football Release 30-Man Shortlist for 2017 Ballon d’Or Award

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France Football have revealed the 30 finalists for the 2017 Ballon d’Or award.

The first group of names saw €222m PSG superstar Neymar, Real Madrid midfield maestro Luka Modric, Juventus hotshot Paulo Dybala –one of two U-23 players to have been nominated –, marauding Los Blancos full-back Marcelo and Chelsea dynamo N’Golo Kante nominated.

Barcelona forward Luis Suarez was the first name in the second batch of nominees, followed by Sergio Ramos, Atletico Madrid stopper Jan Oblak, Liverpool creator Philippe Coutinho and star Napoli goalscorer Dries Mertens.

Meanwhile, Manchester City and Belgium playmaker Kevin De Bryune heads the list for the third batch followed by Poland’s all-time top scorer Robert Lewandowski, Spanish goalkeeper #1 David De Gea, English hitman Harry Kane and Bosnia’s Edin Dzeko.

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi unexpected joins the list here, having consistently made the final three nominees since 2007 closely followed by Gabonese striker Pierre Emerick Aubameyang who was a subject of many transfer speculations last summer following another stellar performance at Borussia Dortmund. PSG’s Edison Cavani, who stepped easily into the void left behind by Zlatan Ibrahimovic is closely followed by Bayern’s Mat Hummels and French striker Karim Benzema.

The next batch of players cut through three of the five major European with Juventus goalkeeper Gianlugi Buffon standing out and Madrid based Toni Kroos and Antoine Griezmann closely followed by Senegal’s Sadio Mane –one of two African players nominated — and Columbia forward Radamel Falcao who has regained his lethal touch at the principality.

Real Madrid duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Isco lead the final batch of nominees for the Ballon d’Or while French teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe is the only teenager to make the list. Chelsea’s Eden Hazard equally made the final 30 as well as the ‘record’ transfer coup of the summer window Leonardo Bonucci.

Further names will join them in due course.

The award, which returned to France Football’s jurisdiction last year for the first time since 2009 after the magazine’s split with FIFA, is currently held by Cristiano Ronaldo.

No individual other than Ronaldo or Lionel Messi have claimed the prize since 2007 when Kaka won after inspiring AC Milan to Champions League glory.

It was 2006 the last time neither Ronaldo nor Messi were named in the top three.

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