Juventus forward Paulo Dybala and Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski are among the big names to have missed out on the 2018 Ballon d’Or after the announcement of the 30-strong list of nominees.
Both players were in contention for the 2017 award after title-winning seasons with their respective clubs, but, despite retaining those crowns and enjoying fine campaigns, they were overlooked by the journalists and national team coaches and captains who took part in France Football’s 2018 vote.
While the likes of Karim Benzema, who scored just five league goals in 32 appearances for Real Madrid last season, are in the running for this year’s award, some of Europe’s finest talents know that they will not be named the world’s best player in December.
Here are 10 of the biggest stars who failed to make the cut.
Despite being named in the FIFPro World XI after helping Paris Saint-Germain to the Ligue 1 title, Dani Alves failed to make the shortlist for the Ballon d’Or and, at the age of 35, he might not get another chance.
When Bonucci made the shortlist for the 2017 award, he was fresh from winning his sixth consecutive Serie A title with Juventus. A year later, he is back in Turin but recovering his best form after a disappointing season at AC Milan.
Since featuring on the Ballon d’Or shortlist in 2017, 40-year-old Buffon won his ninth Serie A title with Juventus and contested Alphonse Areola for the number one shirt at Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain. The veteran stopper may feel he deserved one more chance to be named the world’s best.
Barcelona paid Liverpool a reported €120million to take Coutinho to Camp Nou and he scored eight goals in 18 appearances as the Blaugrana won LaLiga, but it was not enough to earn him a place on the Ballon d’Or shortlist.
David de Gea
Widely regarded as the world’s best goalkeeper, De Gea’s personal achievements have been overshadowed by Spain and Manchester United’s recent struggles.
Argentina international Dybala would perhaps admit himself that he had a slow start to the 2018-19 season with Juventus, but his haul of 22 goals in 33 Serie A appearances – a career-best for the 24-year-old – made him one of the Bianconeri’s key players last season and he will be disappointed not to be among the Ballon d’Or nominees.
Higuain’s last season at Juventus was not his best, but with 23 goals in all competitions he was more lethal in 2017-18 than Benzema.
He may have stepped out of the spotlight of European football by joining Vissel Kobe in the J.League, but Iniesta was nevertheless a key member of the Barcelona team that won a league and cup double in 2017-18.
After scoring 41 goals in all competitions for Bayern Munich in 2017-18 and netting eight in 10 games so far this season, Lewandowski has every right to feel disgruntled about his omission.
While Real Madrid rival Sergio Ramos is in the running for this year’s Ballon d’Or, Barcelona defender Pique misses out. Perhaps he will console himself with his 2017-18 LaLiga and Copa del Rey titles.