Lionel Messi, not Cristiano Ronaldo, deserves the 2016 Ballon d'Or award

Ballon d'Or fever, anyone? France Football have included four Barcelona stars in their final shortlist of candidates for their 2016 Golden Ball award.

Lionel Messi is the current holder of the prestigious award, but the vast majority of media expect Cristiano Ronaldo to overcome the challenge posed by his Argentinean rival this time round.

Here are the 30 finalists:

1. Sergio Agüero (Manchester City)

2. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund)

3. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)

4. Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)

5. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

6. Paulo Dybala (Juventus)

7. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

8. Diego Godín (Atlético Madrid)

9. Antoine Griezmann (Atlético Madrid)

10. Gonzalo Higuaín (Juventus)

11. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United)

12. Andrés Iniesta (FC Barcelona)

13. Koke (Atlético Madrid)

14. Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)

15. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munchen)

16. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)

17. Riyad Mahrez (Leicester)

18. Leo Messi (FC Barcelona)

19. Luka Modric (Real Madrid)

20. Thomas Müller (Bayern Munchen)

21. Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munchen)

22. Neymar (FC Barcelona)

23. Dimitri Payet (West Ham)

24. Pepe (Real Madrid)

25. Paul Pogba (Manchester United)

26. Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon)

27. Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)

28. Luis Suarez (Barcelona)

29. Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)

30. Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich)

While I do understand that Cristiano Ronaldo's success with both Real Madrid (Champions League) and Portugal (Euro 2016 Championship) make him a much stronger candidate than in previous years, the fact that his form after the summer has not been to Messi's standard cannot be overlooked.

Messi was the outstanding leader in a majestic Barcelona team who conquered the La Liga and Copa del Rey double in the 2015/16 season, winning his 30th career trophy in the process.

The Argentina star currently tops La Liga in terms of goals scored (seven, tied with Luis Suarez). The Argentina star has scored a goal every 69 minutes and has a 59% shot accuracy after 16 of his 27 attempts so far were on target. Ronaldo has only scored twice in La Liga this season.

Messi also tops the Champions League goalscoring table with six goals after playing just two matches -- while Cristiano Ronaldo has 'only' found the net twice in three games.

Only time will tell, but it would certainly be outrageous to assume the 2016 Ballon d'Or is already in Cristiano Ronaldo's pocket.

Your opinions are valued. Who should win the 2016 Ballon d'Or: Messi, Ronaldo or any others? Tell me about your thoughts in the comments below.