Best XI: Players not nominated for Ballon d’Or 2016

Jan Oblak

Oblak manned the Atletico Madrid goal like his life depended on it. The Slovenia international was the goalkeeper for the side that ended the 2015/16 campaign with the best defensive record in Europe. No doubt that Los Rojiblancos have quality throughout their backline but Oblak is one of the best young custodians in the world.

David Alaba

The Austrian is an exceptionally gifted footballer. His superb understanding of the game as well as technical ability enables him to play several positions with ease. Nominally a left-back, Alaba also gets deployed in midfield and is not averse to turning up a good show in central defence. He is an asset for any time.

Gerard Pique

The Barcelona centre-back is maturing into one of the best defenders in the world. His form was a little erratic after the retirement of Carles Puyol but he has taken the defensive leadership role in stride and has become a player the team can rely on. He turned in a series of outstanding displays throughout the season as the Catalans collected the domestic double.

Giorgio Chiellini

The Italian international has been one of the best central defenders in the world for quite some time and he continued his superb form through the 2015/16 campaign as Juventus won the domestic double.

Philipp Lahm

If there is one player who could be said to never have a dip in form, then Lahm has to be it. The Bayern Munich stalwart goes about his job manfully and has become a permanent fixture on the right side of the German outfit’s defence. It’s a travesty that he hasn’t won a Ballon d’Or yet.

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Saul Niguez

The Atletico Madrid midfielder was one of the best players in the Spanish league last season, going on to play 48 games in all competitions. He featured in central midfield, defensive midfield, on the right wing, on the left wing and even as a central defender during the last campaign, highlighting the flexibility he offers to his managers.

N’Golo Kante

Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy took most of the plaudits for Leicester City’s unprecedented run to the Premier League title last season; however, without the presence of Kante in the Foxes midfield it is hard to imagine them having the same impact. No wonder then that Claudio Ranieri’s men have struggled to replicate the same form now that Kante has gone to Chelsea.

Ivan Rakitic

Rakitic has fast become a vital cog in the Barcelona midfield. He provides so much in the Catalan outfit’s midfield with his constant running and incisive passing.

Mesut Ozil

Ozil enjoyed one of his best seasons at Arsenal last term as they finished runners-up to Leicester City in the league. But he couldn’t help the Gunners past their familiar failings in Europe.

Karim Benzema

The Frenchman has been a prominent figure in Real Madrid’s attacking trio. And his understanding with Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo make him an indispensable asset for Los Blancos.

Alexis Sanchez

The Arsenal forward went on to notch 17 goals and 11 assists in all competitions for them as they finished second in the league. More significantly, he played a stellar role in Chile’s Copa America triumph for a second year running.