The 2007 FIFA World Players of the Year marked the final ceremony before Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s era of dominance – and it featured impressively high finishes for Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool men.
In fact, Chelsea had more players among the 30 nominees than any other Premier League club with five, despite ultimately finishing second in both 2006-07 and 2007-08.
Manchester United ended both seasons as champions and contributed three names to the list, while 2007 Champions League runners-up Liverpool had two players featured.
Arsenal and West Ham names were also longlisted, although both players had left their respective clubs by the time the award was handed out in December 2007.
In total, four English players were nominated in Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard and John Terry.
Ultimately, the list was dominated by Barcelona, who had seven players nominated despite ending the two campaigns with just a Spanish Super Cup to show for their efforts.
Italy were the most popular nation, which is fitting given they had lifted the World Cup in 2006.
The award was decided by coaches and captains of national teams as well as by international media representatives invited by FIFA, who were each given three votes.
Their first pick was awarded five points, their second was awarded three points and their third was awarded just one.
Kaka came out as a clear winner as the last person to win the award before Messi or Ronaldo claimed the following 11 (it merged with the Ballon d’Or in 2010 before becoming a part of The Best FIFA Football Awards in 2015, most recently won by Luka Modric).
1. Kaka (Milan) – 1047
2. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – 504
3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United) – 426
4. Didier Drogba (Chelsea) – 209
5. Ronaldinho (Barcelona) – 109
6. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) – 68
7. Andrea Pirlo (Milan) – 57
8. Thierry Henry (Arsenal & Barcelona) – 54
9. Fabio Cannavaro (Real Madrid) – 47
10. Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus) – 31
11. Franck Ribery (Marseille & Bayern Munich) – 30
12. Samuel Eto’o (Barcelona) – 29
13. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) – 22
14. Miroslav Klose (Werder Bremen & Bayern Munich) – 21
15. Michael Essien (Chelsea) – 20
16. Juan Roman Riquelme (Boca Juniors & Villarreal) – 19
18= Petr Cech (Chelsea) – 18
18= Ruud van Nistelrooy (Real Madrid) – 18
19. Frank Lampard (Chelsea) – 11
21= Deco (Barcelona) – 9
21= Juninho (Lyon) – 9
22. Gennaro Gattuso (Milan) – 8
24= John Terry (Chelsea) – 6
24= Patrick Vieira (Inter) – 6
25. Rafael Marquez (Barcelona) – 5
26. Fernando Torres (Atletico Madrid & Liverpool) – 4
27. Alessandro Nesta (Milan) – 2
28. Carlos Tevez (West Ham & Manchester United) – 1
Two players, Bayern Munich’s Philipp Lahm and Barcelona’s Lillian Thuram, did not receive any votes in either first second or third, which seems a bit mean.
There are few slightly surprising names among the nominees looking back, but how do they compare to these 11 players we can’t quite believe were nominated for the Ballon d’Or?