The Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi awards show – sorry, the Ballon d’Or awards show – is just around the corner (even though it feels like we’ve just had the last one).
With Portugal’s summer success, and Real Madrid’s Champions League victory, it seems a certain CR7 is the hot favourite to take home the prestigious award ?. Still, there’s some lads in there who have had top season’s, and fully deserve a slot at Messi and Ronaldo’s Christmas table – keep your Skittles and vodka away, Jamie Vardy.
However, some players were seriously unlucky to miss the shortlist, after having top international and domestic outings last season. And, the boys don’t make for a bad starting XI, with a 3-4-3 formation.
Take a look at the XI lads who were hard done by…
GK) David De Gea
Been carrying Man United for two years now. Ok, it didn't get the Red Devils into the Champions League last season, but it did deliver an FA Cup, and make United at least 'semi-respectable'.
Best 'keeper in the world as well. Enough said.
Source: 101 great Goals
DF) Javier Mascherano
There simply isn't a better 'ball playing' centre-back.
The Barcelona man was his usual vintage brilliance in Barca's La Liga triumph, and helped Argentina to the Copa America Final.
Source: You Tube
DF) Laurent Koscielny
Ok, people might question this one. But, hear me out. The Frenchman was brilliant in the summer for an injury hit back four. And was instrumental in helping the hosts reach the final.
The Gunner was also solid for Arsenal, and ultimately was key to the reason behind them finishing above Tottenham... again.
DF) Gerard Pique
Is there a more consistent defender? Ticks all the boxes for being a quality centre-half.
The Barca man delivered his usual brilliance in La Liga last season. Hugely important to why they only conceded 29 goals.
RM) Henrikh Mkhitaryan
With the talent in Bundesliga - ahem, Bayern Munich - and to still be voted the best player in the league amongst all those chaps, shows how brilliant the Armenian was last season.
Let's hope he find his feet over in England.
CM) N’Golo Kante
For Kante's two sidekicks to be on the shortlist, and for the Frenchman not to be seems very harsh.
The best midfielder in the Premier League last season, and just as important to Leicester winning the league as Mahrez and Vardy's goals.
Source: VBet News
CM) Ivan Rakitic
How the Croatian doesn't get more plaudits we're not quite sure.
People say Sergio Busquets is the overlooked Barca midfielder, but Rakitic's quality was so evident when playing for Croatia in the summer. Massively important to both club and country.
Source: Perform Group
LM) Angel di Maria
The Premier League's biggest cop out. But, still so effective last season in France.
The Argentine delivered 19 assists in 29 games in Ligue 1, as well as playing a part in Argentina's Copa America final run. Quality player.
RF) Karim Benzema
Ok, ok, didn't feature in France. And an absolute weapon if you ask us.
But, the Frenchman still was the joint-fourth-highest scorer in La Liga, with 24 goals. And helped Real Madrid to a Champions League success... not exactly bad.
Source: Getty Images
CF) Harry Kane
No, the Tottenham striker isn't in the side for his effective corner kick ability.
The England international had such a prolific season, being the top scorer in the Premier League with 22 goals. Why should Aguero get in over him?
LF) Alexis Sanchez
Voted best player in Chile's successful Copa America victory, and the Gunner was basically to blame for Lionel Messi's two-minute retirement.
Surely, that's enough to be on the shortlist?