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Coming soon: The Goal 50


GOAL 50

The wait is almost over! On Friday Nov. 11 the winner of the 2016 Goal 50 will be revealed.

The prestigious annual award, which has been both recognising and ranking the finest players on the planet since 2008, was last year presented to Lionel Messi, who inspired Barcelona to a thrilling treble triumph.

After receiving the trophy, the Argentine ace told Goal: "It was a very complete year in which I enjoyed a lot of success and we reached all of our goals.

"I always say that, for me, the most important awards are collective ones, the ones that recognise us as the best at the end of the season.

"But I am, of course, also happy when I receive individual awards like this one. I am very grateful. Thank you."

Last year represented a record-breaking fourth Goal 50 triumph for Messi - but can he make it five?

The 28-year-old helped Barca win a domestic double in 2016 but he will no doubt face stiff competition for the No.1 slot from long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who, in the space of just six weeks, won the Champions League with Real Madrid and then the European Championship with Portugal.

Ronaldo is a three-timer winner of the Goal 50 himself and last collected the award in 2014 (see below).

Of course, Messi could also be dethroned by one of his Barcelona teammates, with Luis Suarez having claimed last season's European Golden Shoe with 40 goals in just 35 Liga games and Neymar achieving immortality in his native Brazil by leading his country to Olympic glory in August.

Elsewhere, Antoine Griezmann is in contention after starring for Atletico Madrid during its run to May's Champions League final before claiming both the Golden Shoe and the Golden Ball at Euro 2016.

However, Gareth Bale also impressed in France for Wales, while Leicester duo Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez are strong candidates given their respective roles in the most unlikely title triumph in the history of English football.

Gonzalo Higuain made history himself this year by breaking the record for most goals in a single Serie A season, while Robert Lewandowski become the first foreigner ever to score 30 times during a Bundesliga campaign. We could go on and on but only 50 players can make the list and only one can come out on top. Who will make the final cut?

Well, luckily, we don't have too long to wait, with the 2016 Goal 50 set to be revealed over the course of five days between November 7 and 11.

Until then, stick with us for exclusive interviews with the leading candidates, expert analysis from our club correspondents, galleries, videos and cartoons, as we build up to the announcement of this year's winner of the Goal 50.