5 Players That Should Have Made the Ballon d'Or Shortlist in 2017 But Didn't

As Paris prepares to host the annual Ballon d'Or awards on Thursday night for the 62nd time in its history, the debate still rages over who should take home the coveted prize of best-performing player in world football this year. With the battle for the tenth year running likely to come down to yet another face-off between messrs Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi - the latter having won five to the Portuguese's four trophies respectively. With Messi favourite to regain his crown from 2015...

Alexandre Lacazette

The French league is continuing in its' rise up the power rankings, but whilst forward men Kylian Mbappe, Falcao and Cavani are included this year, Alexandre Lacazette misses out once again having now earned his move to the Premier League's top level with Arsenal.

The Frenchman is yet to nominated during his career at Lyon, during which time he has over twenty in each of the last three season with 27, 21 and last term a record 28 goals respectively.

Despite having finished above Cavani in the goal charts twice previously, PSG's Uruguayan forward leapfrogged his rival last year, but Lacazette still finished ahead of Falcao in the running. 

Monaco were deserved winners of the Ligue 1 title last season, and whilst Falcao was an instrumental part of Leonardo Jardim's squad, Falcao was more of a combined element within a team. That correlation cannot be particularly drawn to Lacazette, after OL finished fourth in the league with a large part down the Frenchman. 

Bas Dost

If Modeste's omission is surprising in sheer goal-scoring terms alone, Bas Dost's is baffling given the Sporting Clube de Portugal's prolific Dutch marksmen's 2016/17 campaign.

Of the top eight highest scoring players last term, Dost is the only name to be left out of the final list, with the 28-year-old former VfL Wolfsburg man at number three on the list.

With more goals than Edin Dzeko, Luis Suarez, Harry Kane, Robert Lewandowski and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, only Edinson Cavani and Lionel Messi scored more times last season.

Scoring at a rate of almost a goal a game, Dost netted 31 times in 34 appearances during the last campaign - with a combined figure of 41 across all competitions.

It is worth noting that whilst Antoine Griezmann may be becoming one of the hottest striking properties, the Frenchman's final total last campaign was almost half that of Dost, with 16.

The Portuguese top-flight may not be considered within the upper echelons of football, but having honed the likes of Ronaldo and Falcao themselves, Dost not making the cut is up there with the grandest of sporting travesties.

Cesar Azpilicueta

Cesar Azpilicueta continues to be one of Europe's most underrated defenders and the voting panel clearly agree - to their loss.

As part of Chelsea's title-winning campaign last year, the Spaniard cemented his place as one of the most versatile players across the continent.

An integral part of Antonio Conte's set-up in the Italian's first season in the Stamford Bridge dugout, the 28-year-old is now in his sixth season in West London - with last term amongst his finest.

Keeping a phenomenal 16 clean sheets, adding five assists and scoring once alone during the 2016/17 campaign, Azpilicueta is perhaps one of the first team names on any Blues' team sheet.

With N'Golo Kante and Eden Hazard both making the 30-man list, the former Marseille defender can feel aggrieved at not getting the required votes.

Whilst in truth only containing three defensive players amongst the nominees, if all three of Leonardo Bonucci, Sergio Ramos and Mats Hummels merit inclusion for their respective dominant campaigns, 'Dave' as he is lovingly referred to by Chelsea fans must surely deserve further recognition.

Kun Aguero

A previous four-time nominee, Kun Aguero failed to make the grade this year despite finishing in the top four scorers in England.

Why should he be included? the Argentine is a renowned form player and having missed a perplexingly-high seven games through indiscipline, Aguero played just 31 league games last term. 

Playing second fiddle to January arrival Gabriel Jesus also, a handful of those appearances were off the bench as the former Atletico Madrid striker failed to hit the heights in the latter stages of Pep Guardiola's debut season with Manchester City.

Whilst Aguero's disciplinary record may have lost favour with voters this year, the forward remains a team player in the English top-flight and scored four more than Eden Hazard last season.

Anthony Modeste

In any other year, the inclusion of striker Anthony Modeste would surely be a far-fetched notion but such was the impact he had during the 2016/17 Bundesliga campaign, the Frenchman's failure to make the Ballon d'Or shortlist could leave a number of players, fans and pundits scratching their heads.

With a career tally of 137 goals in just over a decade, the 29-year-old's previous league record of 15 goals in single campaign with Ligue 1 side Bastia in 2012/13, was then equaled in his first season after switching to FC Koln which he then smashed, netting 25 league goals last term in Germany.

Modeste's prolific record led the Billy Goats back into Europe this season after a 25-year absence from club competition.

Such was the striker's impact, that having left for Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjin this past summer, Koln have plummeted back to the foot of the Bundesliga standings this season with just three points from 14 league games and a goal difference of minus 21, eleven points from safety.

Modeste may indeed not be a household name but with a tally equal to Ronaldo and higher than AS Monaco striker Radamel Falcao, he should surely have made the cut. 

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