Messi, Ronaldo, Pogba, Vardy, Bale headline 2016 Ballon d’Or nominees

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epa04900858 FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi (L) receives from UEFA president Michel Platini (R) his UEFA best player in Europe for 2014-2015 Award during the draw ceremony for the UEFA Champions League group stage at Grimaldi Forum in in Monte Carlo, Monaco, 27 August 2015. EPA/GUILLAUME HORCAJUELO

Five-time winner Lionel Messi is among the latest nominees to be announced by France Football on the shortlist for this year’s Ballon d’Or.

The 29-year-old forward helped Barcelona to a domestic double in Spain this season but missed out on Copa America Centenario glory with Argentina, while rival Cristiano Ronaldo’s success in the Champions League with Real Madrid and at Euro 2016 with Portugal has established him as favourite to usurp Messi this time around.

Riyad Mahrez enjoys his first nomination, having inspired Leicester City to a remarkable Premier League title triumph with displays that secured him the PFA Player of the Year award in England.

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Tottenham and France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is included despite a season of near misses at club and international level last season.

Thomas Muller is shortlisted for the sixth time in seven years after Bayern Munich continued their dominance of German football and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric is the latest of Real Madrid’s Champions League winners to be recognised.

The 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or – which is back under the sole auspice of France Football this year following a split with FIFA – is being revealed in alphabetical five-man groups throughout Monday.

2016 Ballon d’Or shortlist

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).

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