Calling a list of 30 names “short” may be a bit of a stretch by any reasonable metric, but Philippe Coutinho today finds himself amongst the 30 players named to the Ballon d’Or shortlist alongside, so far at least, the likes of Luka Modric, Paolo Dybala, and N’Golo Kante.
The full list hasn’t been revealed as yet, so it’s possible Coutinho could be joined by another Liverpool player, with both Sadio Mané and summer signing Mohamed Salah darkhorse candidates to at least make the very long shortlist for European football’s top individual honour.
In the end, though, Coutinho and just about everyone else nominated today will have to make do with nothing more than the honour of being nominated, as there seems little doubt that this year it’s Christiano Ronaldo’s award to win for the fifth time in his career.
The runners-up are also unlikely to be surprises, with Lionel Messi and Neymar expected to make up an unsurprising top three for the award when the time comes. Still, being named one of Europe’s top 30 players is hardly a bad thing, and that’s what Coutinho is today.
Addendum: Shortly after publication, Sadio Mané joined Philippe Coutinho in being named to the Ballon d’Or shortlist, marking the first time both players have been named amongst Europe top 30 players.