The shortlist for the 2016 Ballon d’Or was announced this week with 30 players in contention for winning one of the most prestigious individual awards in football. Cristiano Ronaldo is the favourite for the award after leading Real Madrid to another Champions League crown and helping Portugal become European champions. Many players missed out on a place on the 30-man shortlist despite playing extremely well over the calendar year.
We take a look at eleven players who missed out on a nomination for this year’s award.
DAVID DE GEA – MANCHESTER UNITED – SPAIN
Despite Manchester United’s troubles on the pitch under Louis van Gaal, David de Gea was a consistent performer for the Red Devils. The Spanish keeper has established himself as one the world’s best and earned a place in the Premier League Team of the Year. The former Atletico man was also named Manchester United’s Player of the Year after missing out on the Premier League Golden Glove award by one clean sheet. His form has continued into the new season, and De Gea remains United’s most valuable player.
DANI ALVES – JUVENTUS/BARCELONA – BRAZIL
Juventus captured arguably the best right-back in the world on a free transfer in the summer after Dani Alves decided to leave Barcelona. The Brazilian enjoyed eight successful years in Spain and is the second-most decorated footballer in European competitions with nine medals. He joined Juventus in search of a new challenge but secured the Spanish domestic double in his final season at the club.
LEONARDO BONUCCI – JUVENTUS – ITALY
Juventus have established their dominance in Italy in recent years and have formed one of the strongest defences in the world with Leonardo Bonucci starring alongside Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli for the Old Lady. Gianluigi Buffon was named on the 30-man shortlist, but all of Juve’s defenders missed out. Bonucci also starred in Italy’s Euro 2016 campaign and was the subject of interest from the Premier League this summer with Manchester City having a £60m rejected by the Italian champions.
GERARD PIQUE – BARCELONA – SPAIN
Another defender whose achievements were overlooked is Gerard Pique. The former Manchester United man has become a mainstay in the Barcelona defence and enjoyed yet another trophy-laden season in Spain. Pique won the La Liga title, the Copa del Rey, the Spanish Super Cup and the UEFA Super Cup making 46 appearances over the course of the season. Pique is a vital player for Luis Enrique and helps Barcelona to play their tiki-taka style of football from defence.
DAVID ALABA – BAYERN MUNICH – AUSTRIA
Austrian international, David Alaba, is widely regarded as one of the best left-backs in the world but is a notable omission from the Ballon d’Or shortlist. Under Pep Guardiola, he blossomed into a hugely versatile player for Bayern Munich. Alaba played at left-back, centre-back and even central midfield for the Bavarians under Guardiola which could have gone against him in the 30-man cut. He guided Austria to the European Championship and won every German title possible last season.
SERGIO BUSQUETS – BARCELONA – SPAIN
His influence may go under the radar at Barcelona, but Sergio Busquets remains as important to the side as any of their attackers, yet the Spanish international has not made the shortlist for the Ballon d’Or. Arguably the best holding midfielder in the world, Busquets can dictate the tempo of the game and allows Barcelona’s attackers to flourish. According to Enrique, Busquets is the most intelligent player he has ever coached.
N’GOLO KANTE – CHELSEA/LEICESTER – FRANCE
Leicester’s Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez were deservedly named on the 30-man shortlist after guiding the Foxes to a Premier League title last season against all the odds. However, there was no place for N’Golo Kante who was just as, if not more important to Claudio Ranieri’s side. The French international earned a £30m to Chelsea in the summer where his form has continued while Leicester have struggled without their talisman.
MESUT OZIL – ARSENAL – GERMANY
A notable omission from both the Ballon d’Or shortlist and the Premier League team of the year was Mesut Ozil. The Arsenal playmaker ended the season with 19 assists, which was the highest in the Premier League and seven more assists than Dimitri Payet who was nominated for the award. Ozil enjoyed his best season in Arsenal colours, and his form has continued into the new season where he has scored three goals.
DOUGLAS COSTA – BAYERN MUNICH – BRAZIL
Ex-Shakhtar Donetsk winger, Douglas Costa, arrived at Bayern Munich for the fourth-highest transfer fee in the club’s history. Guardiola had identified Costa as the perfect addition to his squad and the Brazilian quickly became a first-team player in place of the injured Franck Ribery. Costa netted four goals and registered nine assists in the Bundesliga last season and created an additional 40 chances for his team-mates.
HENRIKH MKHITARYAN – MANCHESTER UNITED/BORUSSIA DORTMUND – ARMENIA
Despite being one of the top players in the Bundesliga last season, Henrikh Mkhitaryan was not considered for the prestigious award. His performances for Borussia Dortmund were exceptional and earned him a move to Manchester United where he has been frozen out by Jose Mourinho. The Armenian international ended the season with 11 goals and 15 assists in 31 appearances and created more than 60 chances in the Bundesliga.
ALEXIS SANCHEZ – ARSENAL – CHILE
One of the biggest omissions from this year’s shortlist is Arsenal’s, Alexis Sanchez. The former Barcelona winger netted 17 goals for the Gunners last season but was overlooked for the 30-man list. Sanchez also performed on the international stage and guided Chile to another Copa America title where he was named as the player of the tournament. His importance to both club and country is unquestionable, and he should be considered as one of the best in the world.
Who do you think should have made the 30-man shortlist? Comment below!