Former Halifax Town striker Jamie Vardy has been nominated for the Ballon d’Or award alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Gareth Bale after helping Leicester win the Premier League title.
The 29-year-old striker, who scored 24 goals in a historic season for the Foxes, has been named on a 30-man list of nominees for the prestigious award, which is currently held by Barcelona star Messi.
France Football, the sole organisers of the prize given to the best footballer in the world following a split from FIFA, revealed Vardy was in contention in a tweet published on Monday evening.
The Sheffield-born player, who was playing Non League football five years ago, is the only Englishman nominated, while Real Madrid’s Bale represents Wales after his heroics at Euro 2016.
Vardy began his career in the youth team at Sheffield Wednesday before joining the youth set up at semi-professional outfit Stocksbridge Park Steels in 2003.
FC Halifax Town spotted his potent nature in 2010 and recruited him into the Conference where he scored 27 goals in 37 appearances before joining Fleetwood Town.
After a prolific spell on the east coast, Leicester signed the striker for a reported fee of £1 million – a record for a Non League player.
And, after helping the Foxes to win the Championship in 2014, his goals took Claudio Ranieri’s side to one of sport’s greatest shock triumphs last season.
During the campaign, Vardy scored in 11 consecutive Premier League matches to break a record held by Ruud Van Nistelrooy.