So the most prestigious individual award in football is rapidly approaching and today France Football have released the full list of potential winners.
In a change from the last few years, the way the best player in the world over the last 12 months is being selected is slightly different.
For the past six years, coaches and captains of national teams were invited to vote; however, France Football and FIFA have gone their separate ways and journalists will now have the sole responsibility to pick the winner.
France Football have been teasing us by releasing five members of the 30-man shortlist every few hours but we now know who has and hasn’t been included.
Of the big names to miss out, Manchester United’s David de Gea has been harshly overlooked following another stellar year at Old Trafford while Tottenham and France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has been included.
Juventus’ Leonardo Bonucci is another who has been in brilliant form for club and country during 2016 but is not in contention.
Perhaps less surprisingly, the shortlist is dominated by players from La Liga with 13 nominations in total.
And regardless of the 30 initial contenders, there are only believed to be three main contenders in with a serious chance of lifting the trophy in January.
Cristiano Ronaldo is most bookies’ favourite to secure the accolade for the third time in four years after winning the Champions League and Euro 2016 with Real Madrid and Portugal respectively.
But Lionel Messi shouldn’t be ruled out entirely and he has been in particularly blistering form since the start of the current season.
The other man who is also expected to be in the final three-man shortlist is Antoine Griezmann.
The 25-year-old was crucial to Atletico Madrid’s run to the Champions League final and he was also awarded the Golden Boot for Euro 2016 after top scoring with an impressive six goals from seven matches.
BALLON D’OR FULL 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 (Napoli/Juventus)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (PSG/Manchester United)
Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona)
Koke (Atletico Madrid)
Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)
Riyad Mahrez (Leicester)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)
Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)
Dimitri Payet (West Ham United)
Pepe (Real Madrid)
Paul Pogba (Juventus/Manchester United)
Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon)
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
Luis Suarez (Barcelona)
Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)
Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich)
Culled from GiveMeSport