The Ballon d’or is a prestigious award which illustrates the greatest player of the past 12 months. Surly an award any football player would like to win, this year's Ballon d'Or is judged solely by a panel of journalists after FIFA and France Football parted ways.
Cristiano Ronaldo is favourite to regain the title following his impressive year as he won the Champions League and captained Portugal to Euro 2016 glory a few months later, it’s clear to see why Real Madrid may not need any new signings. If Ronaldo does regain the Ballon d’or, it would mean over the last 8 years the winner has either been Ronaldo or Lionel Messi.
When the first 10 nominees were announced, it struck me that there was only one Goalkeeper, the legend Gianluigi Buffon.
The Ballon d'Or prize has been dominated by attacking players throughout its history and since the award began in 1956 there has only been ONE goalkeeper to win the award, that being Lev Yashin in 1963. Now the full 30-man shortlist has been published, there are only four Goalkeepers.
The full list of Nominees
• Sergio Agüero (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 Godín (Atlético Madrid)
• Antoine Griezmann (Atlético Madrid)
• Gonzalo Higuaín (Juventus)
• Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United)
• Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona)
• Koke (Atlético 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 Müller (Bayern Munich)
• Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)
• Neymar (Barcelona)
• Dimitri Payet (West Ham United)
• Pepe (Real Madrid)
• Paul Pogba (Manchester United)
• Rui Patrício (Sporting)
• Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
• Luis Suárez (FC Barcelona)
• Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)
• Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich)
I have no doubts that picking the 30 nominees is a hard task as there are so many quality players who deserve to be on there. Eden Hazards omission is justifiable due to a very poor 2015 but Mesut Özil could have easily been picked who would make the starting 11 of noticeable players not listed.
Are Goalkeepers appreciated in the modern game?
Firstly, to answer the question, of course Goalkeepers are appreciated and in fact, having a quality back up keeper is a vital for any football team. Gianluigi Buffon is arguably the best Goalkeeper ever to play the game, he held the transfer record for a Goalkeeper before transfer prices and money in football rose to amazing heights.
Will another Goalkeeper win the Ballon d’or?
There are a lot of great Goalkeepers, arguably the top 5 current Goalkeepers in no order are: Gianluigi Buffon, Thibaut Courtois, David De Gea, Manuel Neuer and Hugo Lloris. All 5 are extremely important to their respective teams (club and country) and are arguably more decisive than attacking players. Hugo Lloris is one of just four goalkeepers so far on the shortlist, alongside Gianluigi Buffon, Manuel Neuer and Rui Patrício.
Possible future winners
Jan Oblak, who many believe should have been nominated this year could easily be one of the best Goalkeepers in the coming years if he continues to improve. Gianluigi Donnarumma is one of the top young players and best Goalkeeper for his age. Getting his debut at 16, the 17-year-old has already gained a starting spot in the AC Milan side.
Others like Jack Butland, Timo Horn and Mattia Perin are quality keepers who will certainly be playing for big clubs soon enough and maybe then they will receive the recognition to be in the conversation for the Ballon d’or.
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