It's been a while since an Englishman won the Ballon d'Or, 20 years in fact. Which is why it's a pleasant surprise to see four of them nominated for this year's award.
Will Harry Kane, Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling or Phil Foden follow in the footsteps of Michael Owen, Kevin Keegan and Bobby Charlton? Probably not, but it's nice to see a few of Gareth Southgate's boys in the mix.
After over a decade of the Messi-Ronaldo duopoly, it's easy to forget that English players have been frequent contenders for the Ballon d'Or over the years.
So with that in mind, here are 11 English players who received multiple Ballon d'Or nominations.
Honourable mentions: Kevin Keegan – 4 nominations (and 2 wins!) and Paul Scholes – 4 nominations.
Gary Lineker – 5 nominations
Gary Lineker was first nominated for the Ballon d'Or in 1986 after a superb campaign with Everton and winning the golden boot at the World Cup.
He finished second behind Dynamo Kiev's Igor Belanov, despite scoring more than twice as many goals that year than the Soviet Union international.
Lineker earned a further four nominations over the next five seasons during impressive spells with Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur, as well as standing out at another World Cup with England in 1990.
Who is the greatest English player never to win the Ballon d'Or? Let us know in the comments section below…
Frank Lampard – 5 nominations
Frank Lampard was absolutely central to Chelsea's rise to the top of European football in the 00s, growing into one of the world's finest midfielders.
He was first nominated for the Ballon d'Or in 2004, but came closest to winning it in 2005, finishing second behind Barcelona superstar Ronaldinho.
The Chelsea icon was nominated again in 2006, 2008 and 2009, but was arguably robbed of a nomination in 2010 after scoring a ridiculous 27 goals from midfield and leading the Blues to a domestic double.
Bryan Robson – 5 nominations
Bryan Robson is arguably one of English football's most underrated players.
The dynamic midfielder spent 13 years at Manchester United and stood out as one of the league's best and most consistent players long before domestic success was any sort of guarantee at Old Trafford.
He was nominated for the Ballon d'Or in 1981, '83, '84, '85 and '87 and perhaps could have come close to winning one if England had a stronger side in the early part of the decade.
Peter Shilton – 6 nominations
Peter Shilton's first and last Ballon d'Or nominations came 12 years apart, such was the man's incredible longevity at the very top of world football.
The former Leicester City, Stoke City and Nottingham Forest goalkeeper still holds the record for most England caps, despite only really becoming a regular in the side at the age of 33!
While he never got close to actually winning the award, earning six nominations while playing in goal for four different clubs demonstrates Shilton's consistency and brilliance over the years.
Steven Gerrard – 6 nominations
Steven Gerrard was first nominated for the award in 2001 following Liverpool's remarkable cup treble, but had to wait four years before another came along.
By then, the Reds had won the Champions League and Gerrard had developed into one of the world's best players.
Despite a lack of domestic and international honours, Gerrard was nominated again in '06, '07, '08 and '09, earning himself a place in the FIFA World Team of the Year during the last three.
Jimmy Greaves – 6 nominations
It's an absolute tragedy that Jimmy Greaves isn't a more widely celebrated figure in English football.
The former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur striker was an assassin in front of goal, scoring 400 times in 550 games over a 13-year sell in the English top-flight.
He was the nation's superstar going into the 1966 World Cup, but sadly lost his place in the side to Geoff Hurst after getting injured in the quarter-final against Argentina and missed out on the glory of the final – a heartbreak that haunted him for the rest of his life.
Greaves received five Ballon d'Or nominations between 1960 and 1964, before earning a sixth in '68.
He finished third in '63 behind Russian goalkeeper Lev Yashin and Italian midfielder Gianni Rivera.
Michael Owen – 6 nominations
England's last Ballon d'Or winner picked up the prize after leading Liverpool to victory in three separate cup competitions in 2001, and famously netting the winner in the FA Cup final against Arsenal.
The little striker was first nominated three years earlier after bursting onto the scene as an 18-year-old at the 1998 World Cup, and while injuries plagued the second half of his career, the first half earned him five world player of the year nominations before he turned 26.
How many more could he have earned if he'd kept himself fit, I wonder?
Bobby Moore – 7 nominations
England's World Cup-winning captain is appropriately recognised as one of the greatest defenders to ever grace the game, and his seven Ballon d'Or nominations shows it isn't just England fans who think so.
The West Ham United legend was runner-up for the award in 1970, finishing behind Germany's Gerd Muller, and his technical brilliance and inspiring leadership helped him stand out among the very best in world football for over a decade.
There's a reason Pele called him "greatest defender I ever played against".
Wayne Rooney – 9 nominations
Like Michael Owen, the latter years of Wayne Rooney's career may have taken some of the shine off, but it's hard to forget just how frighteningly good he was at his best.
He was first nominated for the Ballon d'Or after exploding onto the world stage with England as an 18-year-old at Euro 2004.
Eight consecutive nominations would follow as Rooney blossomed into one of the world's most fearsome strikers, netting consistently for Manchester United and England to become record-goalscorer for both.
Bobby Charlton – 9 nominations
Arguably England's best player during the '66 World Cup triumph, Bobby Charlton is rightly considered one of the greatest players of all time, and a true Manchester United legend.
As good a creator as he was a goalscorer, he was top-scorer for both United and England before Rooney took both records.
Charlton was nominated for the Ballon d'Or a whopping nine times between 1960 and 1971, winning the award in '66 and coming second in '67 and '68.
David Beckham – 10 nominations
Despite never winning it, David Beckham holds the record for the most Ballon d'Or nominations of any English player.
He earned all 10 over an 11-year period with Manchester United and Real Madrid between 1997 and 2007.
Beckham came closest to winning the award in 1999, the year United famously won the Treble, finishing second behind Brazil and Barcelona superstar Rivaldo.
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