Published: Tue, October 09, 2018
Sport | By Patty Hardy

Bale, De Bruyne among first Ballon d'Or nominees

Bale, De Bruyne among first Ballon d'Or nominees

The latest candidates, who are being revealed in alphabetical order, include Thibaut Courtois, 2017 victor Cristiano Ronaldo, Kevin De Bruyne, Roberto Firmino and Diego Godin.

Victory in the Champions League for the third consecutive season and their players among the World Cup finalists in Russian Federation have resulted in the Spanish side being well represented.

Mo Salah, N'Golo Kante, Harry Kane, Paul Pogba, Eden Hazard, Roberto Firmino, Kevin de Bruyne, Alisson, Sadio Mane, Sergio Aguero and Hugo Lloris are the nominees among those announced now plying their trade in the Premier League.

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

PSG's Mbappe appears a dead certainty for the newly-introduced Kopa Trophy, which rewards the best players under 21, and is voted on by previous Ballon d'Or winners.

The names are released in groups of five throughout the day, with the full 30-player shortlist eventually being drawn up ahead of the awards ceremony in Paris on 3 December.

Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who joined Juventus from Real Madrid in the summer, won last year's Ballon d'Or and is again a contender.

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

Bale's club-mate Luka Modric, who is yet to be named as a candidate, is among the early favourites after Real's European success against the Reds and leading Croatia to the World Cup final.

The award merged with the FIFA World Player of the Year prize from 2010-2015 to create the FIFA Ballon d'Or, but returned to France Football magazine in 2016 while FIFA established The Best awards.

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