You're Kidding Me! The 9 Biggest Names to Miss Out on the Ballon d'Or Shortlist

Following the announcement of the Ballon d'Or shortlist on Monday, many eyebrows were raised at the surprise exclusion of some of the biggest names in football. 

These so called big names did not just draw confusion at their absence on the list due to their reputation, but purely through the fact that their statistics over the past year merited them a place on football's most coveted list. 

Let's take a look at some of the most high profile players who undeservedly missed out on a place...

9. Manuel Neuer - Bayern Munich

Appearances: 48

Clean Sheets: 25

Saves: 117

Trophies: Bundesliga 

The German shot stopper finished in third place for the prestigious award back in 2014 behind only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, so his exclusion from the shortlist in it's entirety comes as a massive shock. 

The 31-year-old's form has not declined since then, and the former Schalke man was even voted into the Bundesliga team of the season for his efforts last term as Bayern won the league, achievements which you would've expected to earn him a place on the shortlist at least. 

8. Paul Pogba - Manchester United

Appearances: 61

Goals: 10

Assists: 9

Trophies: EFL Cup, UEFA Europa League

Manchester United's record signing may feel hard done by to be excluded from the shortlist, as his efforts following his £89m move from Juventus saw him win the EFL Cup and the Europa League in his first season back at Old Trafford. 

His form at times came under some criticism, mainly due to his hefty price tag, but there is no denying that Pogba is one of the best midfielders in world football. 

7. Dani Alves - Paris Saint-Germain

Appearances: 30

Goals: 5

Assists: 8

Trophies: Serie A, Coppa Italia

The 34-year-old helped Juventus to a domestic double in his first season in Italy after joining from Barcelona on a free, and also played a leading role in guiding the Old Lady to the Champions League final, directly contributing to all four goals in his side's semi-final ties against Monaco with two goals and two assists.  

Having scored five, assisted eight and guiding his team to a league and cup double, Alves can count himself unlucky that he hasn't made the shortlist at least. 

6. Gareth Bale - Real Madrid

Appearances: 30

Goals: 12

Assists: 5

Trophies: La Liga, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup

The Welsh international has been regarded as one of the best players in world football since his £85m move to Real Madrid, but endured a disappointing season last campaign as injuries mounted against him. 

The 28-year-old only managed 30 appearances as Los Blancos won La Liga, the Champions League and the Super Cup, but his displays in the games he did manage to play in should still have merited the former Spurs man a place on the shortlist at least. 

5. Gonzalo Higuain - Juventus

Appearances: 52

Goals: 34

Assists: 5

Trophies: Serie A, Coppa Italia

The Argentina international notched an impressive 34 goals for the Old Lady as they won a domestic double and reached the Champions League final, and Higuain can count himself unfortunate that his goal tally alone has not earned him a place on the shortlist. 

Considering the Ballon d'Or is an individual award, the former Napoli man should surely have made the list over the likes of Karim Benzema for his goalscoring exploits alone. 

4. Zlatan Ibrahimovic - Manchester United

Appearances: 46

Goals: 28

Assists: 10

Trophies: EFL Cup, UEFA Europa League, FA Community Shield

The iconic Swede scored 28 goals and assisted a further 10 for the Red Devils after signing on a free transfer, including a match winning double against Southampton in the EFL Cup final as well as the winning goal in a 2-1 Community Shield victory over Leicester. 

The 36-year-old, despite his age, was still one of the best forwards in Europe last term and deserved a place on the coveted Ballon d'Or shortlist to say the least. 

3. Casemiro - Real Madrid

Appearances: 42

Goals: 6

Assists: 3

Trophies: La Liga, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup

Real Madrid's Brazilian stalwart has emerged from relative obscurity to become one of the best defensive midfielders in Europe recently, and his big game performances for Los Blancos should have cemented his place on the shortlist amongst Europe's elite. 

The 25-year-old scored a crucial goal in the Champions League final to put his side 2-1 up over Juventus, and has become a pivotal figure at the Santiago Bernabeu over the last year.

2. Sergio Aguero - Manchester City

Appearances: 38

Goals: 33

Assists: 6

Trophies: N/A

Despite not winning a trophy with City last season, Pep Guardiola's Argentinian wizard managed to rack up 33 goals in just 38 appearances in all competitions, and his exclusion from the shortlist is nothing short of baffling. 

The Ballon d'Or is mainly an individual award, and Aguero's personal statistics should easily have seen him put on the list amongst Europe's finest players. 

1. Alexis Sanchez - Arsenal

Appearances: 55

Goals: 33

Assists: 17

Trophies: FA Cup 

Arguably the most inexcusable omission from the shortlist, Arsenal's Chilean maestro recorded some staggeringly impressive individual numbers last term as the Gunners won yet another FA Cup, with Sanchez scoring the opener in the final. 

The 28-year-old was directly involved in 50 goals for club and country over the course of last year, and he must be absolutely baffled as to what more he could've done to earn a place on the shortlist of football's most prestigious individual award.