The 30-man shortlist for the 2018 Ballon d’Or has been unveiled, and Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe and Harry Kane have all been nominated.
Last month Modric was named the player of the year at the Fifa Best awards, breaking the ten-year stranglehold on the accolade of Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
The Croatian now stands a good chance of scoring a second victory at what is arguably football’s other most prestigious awards ceremony, in Paris on 3 December.
Eleven Premier League stars feature
There is a healthy representation of Premier League players on the shortlist, with Tottenham and England striker Kane joined by Chelsea duo Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante, and Liverpool forwards Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.
Hugo Lloris (Spurs) and Paul Pogba (Manchester United) are rewarded for helping France win the World Cup in July. Also included are Liverpool and Brazil goalkeeper Alisson and Manchester City duo Kevin de Bruyne (Belgium) and Sergio Aguero (Argentina).
Lionel Messi, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, features on this year’s shortlist too, as does his former Barcelona teammate Neymar - which may surprise some, given that the Brazilian missed several months of Paris Saint-Germain’s season with injury.
What is the criteria?
The shortlist is the work of the editorial office of France Football magazine, and the winner will be selected by a panel of international journalists, with one representative from each country.
As Sky Sports explains: “The panel judge nominees on: their performances during the calendar year, their talent and fair play, and their achievements throughout their career.”
The player who gets the most points in the vote is awarded the Ballon d’Or.
According to The Sun, Modric is the “odds-on favourite” to win in 2018. Ronaldo is the second favourite - despite the recent allegations levelled against him - while France and PSG wonderkid Mbappe is third.
Ballon d’Or 2018 shortlist
- Sergio Aguero (Argentina, Manchester City)
- Alisson (Brazil, Liverpool)
- Gareth Bale (Wales, Real Madrid)
- Karim Benzema (France, Real Madrid)
- Kevin de Bruyne (Belgium, Manchester City)
- Edinson Cavani (Uruguay, Paris St-Germain)
- Thibaut Courtois (Belgium, Real Madrid)
- Roberto Firmino (Brazil, Liverpool)
- Diego Godin (Uruguay, Atletico Madrid)
- Antoine Griezmann (France, Atletico Madrid)
- Eden Hazard (Belgium, Chelsea)
- Isco (Spain, Real Madrid)
- Harry Kane (England, Tottenham)
- N’Golo Kante (France, Chelsea)
- Hugo Lloris (France, Tottenham)
- Mario Mandzukic (Croatia, Juventus)
- Sadio Mane (Senegal, Liverpool)
- Marcelo (Brazil, Real Madrid)
- Kylian Mbappe (France, Paris St-Germain)
- Lionel Messi (Argentina, Barcelona)
- Luka Modric (Croatia, Real Madrid)
- Neymar (Brazil, Paris St-Germain)
- Jan Oblak (Slovenia, Atletico Madrid)
- Paul Pogba (France, Manchester United)
- Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Juventus)
- Ivan Rakitic (Croatia, Barcelona)
- Sergio Ramos (Spain, Real Madrid)
- Mohamed Salah (Egypt, Liverpool)
- Luis Suarez (Uruguay, Barcelona)
- Raphael Varane (France, Real Madrid)
Ballon d’Or winner betting odds
- Luka Modric: 2/5
- Cristiano Ronaldo: 2/1
- Kylian Mbappe: 12/1
- Lionel Messi: 14/1
- Antoine Griezmann: 16/1
- Mohamed Salah: 18/1
- Harry Kane: 25/1
- Kevin de Bruyne: 33/1
- Neymar: 33/1
- Eden Hazard: 40/1
- Raphael Varane: 40/1