The 30 names on the 2017 Ballon d’Or shortlist have been released.
The nominations for the best player in the world, coinciding with the final qualifying stages for the Russia 2018 World Cup, and also a couple of months into the domestic seasons.
Always interesting to see who has been nominated and which countries and leagues are best represented.
Listed below, are the 30 nominations, the breakdown in terms of league(s) they play in first, then the countries they play for.
Maybe this year will be the one where both Messi and Ronaldo miss out, the pair of them having monopolised all nine years since 2007, the Argentine genius leading 5-4 against the Real Madrid man.
Ballon d’Or 30 man shortlist
Bundesliga (3 players)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund and Gabon), Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich and Germany), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich and Poland),
La Liga (11)
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid and France), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid and France), Isco (Real Madrid and Spain), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid and Germany), Marcelo (Real Madrid and Brazil), Lionel Messi (Barcelona and Argentina) Luka Modric (Real Madrid and Croatia), Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid and Slovenia), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid and Spain), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid and Portugal), Luis Suarez (Barcelona and Uruguay)
Serie A (5)
Leonardo Bonucci (AC Milan and Italy), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus and Italy), Paulo Dybala (Juventus and Argentina), Edin Dzeko (Roma and Bosnia-Herzegovina), Dries Mertens (Napoli and Belgium),
Ligue 1 (4)
Edinson Cavani (Paris St-Germain and Uruguay), Radamel Falcao (Monaco and Colombia), Kylian Mbappe (Paris St-Germain and France), Neymar (Paris St-Germain and Brazil),
Premier League (7)
Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool and Brazil), Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City and Belgium), David de Gea (Manchester United and Spain), Eden Hazard (Chelsea and Belgium), Harry Kane (Tottenham and England), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea and France), Sadio Mane (Liverpool and Senegal),
3 Belgium, Brazil, Spain
2 Argentina, 2 Germany, 2 Italy, Uruguay
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Columbia, Croatia, England, Gabon, Poland, Portugal, Senegal, Slovenia
Fair play to Harry Kane, the 24 year old picked on the shortlist for the first time – they could hardly ignore him after scoring 43 goals in 37 games for club and country in 2017.
However, there is a big discrepancy, England have one player in the 30 chosen, whilst the Premier League has five different clubs represented (more than any other league), with seven players in total from the English top tier.
La Liga does have 11 players but that is overwhelmingly due to just one club, winning the domestic league and Champions League, Real Madrid have seven players listed.
Fans and media wring their hands and ask why England don’t do better…when the answer is staring them in the face.
The national team doesn’t have very many good players, never mind world class ones.
Even Harry Kane, he has done very well but I don’t think anybody would be putting him in the top 10 of these 30 nominated players.
England don’t stand even a remote chance of winning the World Cup next summer, yet the media will increasingly claim that they do as the tournament comes closer.
In contrast, money has made the Premier League the best league in the world for overall quality.
The cash in the English top tier means most Premier League clubs can outbid almost any other club in the world, apart from the obvious handful, when it comes to recruitment now.
The next TV deals that become active in 2019/20 will simply accelerate that process but whilst money can buy you success/quality, England will still be stuck with the same players, unlike those teams in club football.
Expect the English clubs to ever increasingly dominate, expect nothing from England.