Monday, 22 October, 2018

First five nominees for Ballon d'Or announced

Gareth Bale is one of the first nominees for the 2018 Ballon d'or Gareth Bale is one of the first nominees for the 2018 Ballon d'or
Eugene Bates | 09 October, 2018, 08:00

Names are released in alphabetical order with the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and FIFA "The Best" victor Luka Modric certain to make the shortlist.

Real Madrid and Wales forward Gareth Bale and Manchester City's Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne were among the first 15 nominees for the Ballon d'Or award announced on Monday.

They are joined by Mbappe's France team-mates Hugo Lloris, Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane, as well as Croatia star Luka Modric, who won the World Cup Golden Ball.

Ronaldo is the defending champion, having won his fifth Ballon d'Or in 2017.

The last English victor was Michael Owen in 2001, but Ronaldo and Messi have established a stunning stranglehold, winning five each.

Sergio Aguero has been nominated for the Ballon d'Or.

Ronaldo played a key role in Real's Champions League triumph last season and scored a World Cup hat-trick for Portugal against Spain.

Liverpool's Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino and Uruguay's rugged defender Diego Godin of Atletico Madrid also got the nod.

Karim Benzema, Edinson Cavani and Manchester City's Sergio Aguero make up the first five.

Modric's global team-mates Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Rakitic are also on the shortlist, as are Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

The Ballon d'Or is considered the greatest personal accolade a player can achieve and this year's awards ceremony will take place in Paris on December 3.

Brazil's Marta, crowned best women's player for a record sixth time at last month's Federation Internationale de Football Association awards, is also in contention after her role in winning the Copa America.

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