Looking back at the list of nominees for the 2000 European Footballer of the Year, it’s clear it was a vintage era for the Premier League.
For the second consecutive season, six Manchester United stars were on the list of the 49 players considered to be the best on the continent.
To put that into context, Real Madrid, who were at the beginning of their Galactico era and had just won the Champions League, only received five nominations.
Five more English-based players were on the longlist: Thierry Henry, Marcel Desailly, Didier Deschamps and Sylvain Wiltord were all members of the France squad which had won Euro 2000, while Dennis Bergkamp also received a nomination.
However, the eventual award, which later merged with the Ballon d’Or, was dominated by two players in particular.
Decided by a panel of sports journalists from UEFA member states, Zinedine Zidane finished as runner-up with 181 points, almost 100 more than Andriy Shevchenko in third place.
Luis Figo, who had left Barcelona for Real Madrid in a transfer which shook the world earlier that year, pipped Zizou to the award by 16 points. Less than a year later, the two would form part of a sumptuous midfield at the Bernabeu.
1. Luis Figo (Barcelona & Real Madrid) – 197
2. Zinedine Zidane (Juventus) – 181
3. Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan) – 85
4. Thierry Henry (Arsenal) – 57
6= Alessandro Nesta (Lazio) – 39
6= Rivaldo (Barcelona) – 39
7. Gabriel Batistuta (Roma) – 26
8. Gaizka Mendieta (Valencia) – 22
9. Raul (Real Madrid) – 18
11= Paolo Maldini (AC Milan) – 10
11= David Beckham (Man Utd) – 10
13= Zlatko Zahovič (Olympiakos & Valencia) – 8
13= Fabian Barthez (Man Utd) – 8
16= Francesco Toldo (Fiorentina) – 7
16= Francesco Totti (Roma) – 7
16= Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid) – 7
17. Patrick Kluivert (Barcelona) – 6
21= Fernando Redondo (AC Milan) – 5
21= Edgar Davids (Juventus) – 5
21= Hakan Şükür (Inter) – 5
21= Mário Jardel (Galatasaray) – 5
23= Pavel Nedvěd (Lazio) – 4
23= David Trezeguet (Juventus) – 4
26= Marcel Desailly (Chelsea) – 2
26= Oliver Kahn (Bayern Munich) – 2
26= Rui Costa (Fiorentina) – 2
30= Laurent Blanc (Inter) – 1
30= Claudio Lopez (Lazio) – 1
30= Roy Keane (Man Utd) – 1
30= Juan Sebastian Veron (Lazio) – 1
Nineteen of the nominees did not receive any points in the final vote, including six players from the Premier League:
Sonny Anderson (Lyon), Nicolas Anelka (Real Madrid & PSG), Jocelyn Angloma (Valencia), Dennis Bergkamp (Arsenal), Hernán Crespo (Parma & Lazio), Didier Deschamps (Chelsea & Valencia), Marcelo Gallardo (Monaco), Geremi (Real Madrid), Ryan Giggs (Man Utd), Filippo Inzaghi (Juventus), Patrick M’Boma (Cagliari & Parma), Savo Milošević (Real Zaragoza & Parma), Nuno Gomes (Benfica & Fiorentina), Álvaro Recoba (Inter), Paul Scholes (Man Utd), Marco Simone (Monaco), Jaap Stam (Man Utd), Sylvain Wiltord (Bordeaux & Arsenal) and Boudewijn Zenden (Barcelona).
There are a 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?
It’s a battle between Man Utd and Liverpool.
We all know who’s number one.
Who remembers Oyvind Leonhardsen?
Who do you rate as No.1?
One last time for Claudio Pizarro.
Lewis Cook isn’t a YouTube player, but he’s great.
There’s just 18 to get.
“You think Cristiano is good? Wait to see Fábio.”
There are some big names on this list.
Whatever happened to Amr Zaki?