The shortlist for the 2008 Ballon d’Or award has been announced, and there’s a few surprise ommissions as the list is reduced in size.
Most notable perhaps are the absences of AC Milan's Ronaldinho and Barcelona forward Thierry Henry, with the duo both judged on their relatively disappointing season at Camp Nou and internationally.
Ronaldinho endured a torrid season in Barcelona last term, suffering from injury and a loss form, and thus the Brazil international will not have the opportunity to add to the award he won in 2005.
"It's normal, I did not play much in the last season," Ronaldinho told French TV channel TF1.
Similarly, Henry had a difficult first season in Spain following his move from Arsenal, and France were also eliminated from Euro 2008 at the first-round, and so he misses out on the shortlist for the first time since 1999.
They are not the only big-name omissions, with 2006 and 2004 winners Andriy Shevchenko and Fabio Cannavaro both missing, and clearly the lists' reduced size of 30 from 50 players is taking effect.
Unsurprisingly, European Championship winners Spain boast seven players on the list, including Liverpool sensation Fernando Torres and Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas, while Brazil have just one player, Kaka, of their own.
Champions League and Premier League champions Manchester United have four players in the running, with hot favourite Cristiano Ronaldo, England hero Wayne Rooney,veteran Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar and defender Nemanja Vidic part of the selected pool.
Meanwhile, fellow Champions League finalists Chelsea have three players of their own among the 30, with Michael Ballack, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba joining Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard as the English contingency.
The winner will be selected on 2 December when 96 journalists from around the world cast their vote in a poll organised by France Football magazine.
The full list of nominees is as follows (4 United players in it):
Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal), Togo.
Sergio AgÃ¼ero (Atletico Madrid), Argentine.
AndreÃ¯ Arshavin (ZÃ©nith Saint-PÃ©tersbourg), Russia.
Michael Ballack (Chelsea), Germany.
Karim Benzema (Lyon), France.
Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus Turin), Italy.
Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Spain.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Portugal
Didier Drogba (Chelsea), Ivory Coast.
Samuel Eto'o (FC Barcelone), Cameroon.
Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal), Spain.
Fernando Torres (Liverpool FC), Spain.
Steven Gerrard (Liverpool FC), England.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Inter Milan), Sweden.
Kaka (Milan AC), Brazil.
Frank Lampard (Chelsea), England.
Lionel Messi (FC Barcelone), Argentina.
Pepe (Real Madrid), Portugal.
Franck RibÃ©ry (Bayern Munich), France.
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), England.
Marcos Senna (Villarreal), Spain.
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Spain.
Luca Toni (Bayern Munich), Italy.
Edwin van der Sar (Manchester United), Netherlands.
Rafael van der Vaart (Hamburg SV puis Real Madrid), Netherlands.
Ruud van Nistelrooy (Real Madrid), Netherlands.
Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United), Serbia.
David Villa (Valence CF), Spain.
Xavi (FC Barcelone), Spain.
Youri Zhirkov (CSKA Moscou), Russia.