France Football magazine on Monday announced the list of Ballon d'Or 2016 nominees and Portugal skipper Cristiano Ronaldo is being tipped to land up the coveted trophy on January 9, 2017. A total of 30 names has come up to the fore, out of which the list of shortlists will trim to only three.
Fifa is no more part of the Ballon d'Or award, meaning only France Football is the awarding body. The voting will be conducted only by a panel of journalists.
The international football governing body was part of the awarding body between 2010 and 2015, but now the format is back to what it was. The likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona Juventus and Manchester City are top gainers this time around as a majority of their players have been named as nominees.
Real Madrid's Cristiano, Toni Kroos and Gareth Bale have been named in the 20-man list, while Juventus' Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain and Gianluigi Buffon also feature. From Manchester City, Sergio Aguero and Kevin de Bruyne join as the other shortlists.
Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy -- the sensational Leiciester City duo, who won the Premier League title with their club last season, also feature in the list.
The previous Ballon d'Or award was presented in the 2009 edition to Lionel Messi. Cristiano had come second in the voting, while former Barcelona midfield maestro Xavi remained third.
Ballon d'Or 2016 nominees
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Neymar (Barcelona), Dimitri Payet (West Ham), Pepe (Real Madrid), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Luis Suarez (Barcelona), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich).