Leicester City became a household name last season for its unprecedented journey to becoming 2015/16 Premier League champions. In doing so, a number of the club’s players shot from relative obscurity to stardom — none more so than Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy.
And because of their fantastic play, both Mahrez and Vardy have been named to the 30-man shortlist for the 2016 Ballon d’Or, the award given to the world’s best footballer for that calendar year. Fantastic.
The pair acted as the Foxes’ catalyst in the unforgettable season that ended with a trophy raising at the King Power Stadium. Combining for a total of 41 goals and 17 assists between them, Mahrez and Vardy were ever-present in the title-winning campaign that defied the odds.
Mahrez, 25, scored 17 goals and added 11 assists and went on to win the PFA Player of the Year award for his glittering season that helped the Foxes dominate the English Premier League.
A number of Mahrez’s assists went to Vardy who was second in the league in scoring with 24 goals, including a streak of goals in 11 straight matches, breaking Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of 10 set at his time at Manchester United. For his achievements during the mid-part of the year, Vardy won the Premier League Player of the Month award two straight months, becoming only the fifth player ever to accomplish that feat.
Vardy, who was playing non-league football with Fleetwood Town just five years ago, now has a this prestigious nomination to add to his incredible rise through the footballing ranks.
Joining Mahrez and Vardy on the 30-man list are such accomplished names as Gareth Bale, Luis Suarez and the winners of the six previous awards, Lionel Messi (2010, 2011, 2012, 2015) and Cristiano Ronaldo (2013, 2014).
You can find the full list of winners below:
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Neymar (Barcelona), Dimitri Payet (West Ham), Pepe (Real Madrid), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Luis Suarez (Barcelona), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich)