Thursday, 18 October, 2018

First five nominees for Ballon d'Or announced

Gareth Bale's two goals in Kiev helped Real Madrid claim a record 13th European Cup title Gareth Bale's two goals in Kiev helped Real Madrid claim a record 13th European Cup title More
Kristopher Love | 10 October, 2018, 10:59

And he thinks Les Bleus' achievement outranks that of the likes of Messi, who won La Liga and the Copa del Rey with Barcelona, and Ronaldo - who won a third Champions League title with Real Madrid.

Real Madrid and Wales forward Gareth Bale is among the nominees for this year's men's Ballon d'Or award.

The honour, now separate from FIFA's own Best player of the year award, is bestowed annually by France Football magazine.

Specialist magazine France Football, which has awarded the prize since 1956, announced the 30 nominees for the calendar year trophy, among whom a victor will be chosen by a group of respected football journalists from around the world.

Every Ballon d'Or since 2008 has been won by either Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi and the pair are both among the favourites again this year.

Ronaldo, now facing allegations of rape dating back to 2009 that he strenuously denies, has already won the Ballon d'Or five times and is the current holder of the award.

De Bruyne was nominated for helping his club win the Premier League and his country reach the World Cup semi-finals.

Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero is nominated as is another prolific South American striker, Edinson Cavani of Uruguay and Paris Saint-Germain.

The Tottenham striker captained England to their first World Cup semi-final in 28 years in Russian Federation this summer.

Chelsea star N'Golo Kante, Spurs' goalie Hugo Lloris, Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba, Raphael Varane and Karim Benzema are the seven French players.

PSG star Neymar stands at 3%, Kylian Mbappe and FIFA Best awardee Luka Modric stand at 2% while Antoine Greizmann, Ivan Rakitic, Eden Hazard and Rafael Varane stand at 1%.

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

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker has been included in the list alongside Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero.

Other nominees are Pernille Harder, Lindsey Horan, Fran Kirby, Sam Kerr, Lieke Martens, Megan Rapinoe and Christine Sinclair.

Liverpool and Egypt forward Mohamed Salah has so far received 51% of the fan votes on France Football's Ballon d'Or victor poll on its website.