Ballon d'Or rejects XI: Higuain, De Bruyne among star-studded list

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As Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated claiming his fourth Ballon d'Or, perhaps he spared a thought for the superstars from the 30-man shortlist who failed to muster a single vote.

There were 11 players, coincidentally just enough to form a handy team, who did not attract the attention of any of the 173 journalists from around the world who helped to determine the outcome of France Football's prestigious individual honour.

As expected, Barcelona's Lionel Messi came second behind his Real Madrid rival Ronaldo, with Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid completing the podium.

The world's most expensive player, Paul Pogba, had to make do with joint 14th, but there were plenty of equally big names forgotten altogether in 2016. 

Gonzalo Higuain sealed an Italian record-transfer from Napoli to Juventus after breaking the Serie A goal-scoring record in 2015-16.

And Kevin De Bruyne lit up the Premier League having returned to England with Manchester City. 

They were not alone in failing to make an impression on the final rankings, though.

It may be a little top heavy, but we think the Ballon d'Or reject XI would give most teams a decent game. And now Manuel Neuer finally has an excuse to put his fancy footwork to good use.

 

Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)

Sweeper: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)

Defence: Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)

Midfield: Koke (Atletico Madrid), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)

Attack: Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)