Messi vs Ronaldo as Ballon d’Or top 30 nominees includes Vardy

October 25 – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will once again go head to head to win the Ballon d’Or after both were named in the list of 30 nominees for the 2016 award.

Argentina’s Barcelona wizard and Portugal’s Real Madrid star have finished first and second in each of the past five years with Messi edging honours 3-2. France Football, the magazine that founded the prestigious accolade,  released the list on Monday.

In all six Real Madrid players feature for a the prize that has been awarded by France Football every year since 1956 but which merged with the FIFA World Player of the Year awards in 2010 to become the FIFA Ballon d’Or.

That partnership came to an end this year and while It had been reported that the Ballon d’Or ceremony might be taken to London,  it will remain in Zurich, at least for one more year, and will take place on Jan 9.

Perhaps the most surprising omission from the list is Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea, regarded by many as the best in the English Premier League.

A final shortlist of three will be named prior to the announcement of the winner.

Those nominated are as follows:

– Sergio Aguero (Manchester City and Argentina)

– Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund and Gabon)

– Gareth Bale (Real Madrid and Wales)

– Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus and Italy)

– Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid and Portugal)

– Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City and Belgium)

– Paulo Dybala (Juventus and Argentina)

– Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid and Uruguay)

– Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid and France)

– Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus and Argentina)

– Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United and Sweden)

– Andres Iniesta (Barcelona and Spain)

– Koke (Atletico Madrid and Spain)

– Toni Kroos (Real Madrid and Germany)

– Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich and Poland)

– Hugo Lloris (Tottenham and France)

– Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City and Algeria)

– Luka Modric (Real Madrid and Croatia)

– Lionel Messi (Barcelona and Argentina)

– Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich and Germany)

– Neymar (Barcelona and Brazil)

– Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich and Germany)

– Dimitri Payet (West Ham and France)

– Pepe (Real Madrid and Portugal)

– Paul Pogba (Manchester United and France)

– Rui Patricio (Sporting CP and Portugal)

– Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid and Spain)

– Luis Suarez (Barcelona and Uruguay)

– Jamie Vardy (Leicester City and England)

– Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich and Chile)

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