Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Ballon d'Or 2018: Bale, Benzema and Agüero among first five

Gareth Bale Bale scored a spectacular overhead kick in the Champions League final in May as Real Madrid beat Liverpool 3-1
Kristopher Love | 08 October, 2018, 19:56

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.

Eden Hazard gives Chelsea another player in the running after starring alongside De Bruyne at the World Cup, with England's Golden Boot victor Harry Kane also included.

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema and Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson are among the first five players named as nominees for the 2018 Ballon d'Or.

France Football, who handed out the FIFA Ballon d'Or in conjunction with FIFA between 2010 and 2015, are back to announcing their own award - the famous Golden Ball.

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.

The Ballon d'Or has been awarded by France Football every year since 1956, with former England worldwide Sir Stanley Matthews the first victor.

What is the Ballon d'Or?

The award ceremony takes place on December 3.

The list is compiled by the editorial staff of France Football magazine following which journalists from all over the world vote for the best player in the world.

For six years it combined with world football's governing body to become the Fifa Ballon d'Or.

The bookies are still tipping Real Madrid maestro Luka Modric to scoop the award after an impressive year that saw him win another Champions League title, as well as inspire Croatia to the World Cup final.