Ballon D’or shortlist: Vardy, Mahrez in, Hazard out

France Football has released a 30-man list for the prestigious Ballon d’Or award. As usual, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo made the list. Not like they could have missed it, anyway. However, the Ballon d’Or list looks quite interesting this year. Prior to this dispensation, the list was made up of 23 dudes. Now it has 30 men jostling for the prize. Also, there used to be a combined group of national team coaches, captains and international journalists involved in the voting process. Now it’s just the journalists.

The list itself has a few fresh faces. Jamie Vardy, first of all. The dude fired Leicester City to the Premier League title last season, along with Riyad Mahrez. Both guys are on the Ballon d’Or shortlist, of course, because of this amazing achievement. Also, Euro 2016 stars are aplenty on this list. It includes dudes like Antoine Griezmann, Hugo Lloris, Rui Patricio, Pepe, Dmitri Payet and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. However, the biggest surprise on this list (for me, at least) is Paulo Dybala. The Juventus forward was in brilliant form last season, no doubt. But surely, Alexis Sanchez too had an awesome season, didn’t he?

There were some dudes that missed out, which is kind of surprising. Eden Hazard is not on the 30-man list. The reason, according to France Football, is that his performance last season was below par. That is true, by the way. Karim Benzema missed out too, due to his absence in the Euros. Nevertheless, he won the Champions League with Real Madrid.

I have mixed feelings about Paul Pogba’s inclusion on that 30-man list. He was a vital member of the Juventus team that won the Serie A and the Coppa Italia, that’s not debatable. However, he dropped off considerably since then. He failed to make his authority felt in Euro 2016, and since then, his Premier League performances have been abysmal. Well, I’m going to cut him some slack here, since Cristiano Ronaldo is having an equally poor start to the season. And he did earn his nomination, you know. That’s something.

Congrats to these guys for making the 30-man list. Though why anyone would call a list of 30 names a “shortlist” still baffles me, I’ll just cheer them on till Ronaldo wi – sorry, when the winner is announced. You should do the same.

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