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Breaking: List of nominees for 2018 Ballon d’Or revealed

Messi or Ronaldo for the Ballon d'Or - Valverde gives his answer 1

2018 Ballon d’Or, the most anticipated individual award is starting to take shape with the list of nominees revealed by France Football.

After UEFA Player of the Year and FIFA’s The Best, it is time for the most decorated individual award of the year – Ballon d’Or. France Football will reveal the list of all 30 nominees today but the federation has decided to go for the theatrics. In the early hours of Monday, the federation revealed the first five nominees for the award and will declare the rest of the players as the day progresses.

5: 30 IST: World Cup stars enter the fray:

The list of five more nominees is out and it is dominated by players who were on fire in Russia. World Cup winners Antoine Griezmann and N’golo Kante, Golden Boot winner Harry Kane, Belgium captain Eden Hazard and Spain’s Isco have taken the tally to 15 nominees.

Griezmann played a crucial role in France’s World Cup triumph where he scored 4 goals including a penalty in the final. With Atletico Madrid, Griezmann won the Europa League, scored a brace in the final and was recently named as the competition’s best player. The forward added another trophy to his cabinet as Atletico beat Real Madrid in the European Super Cup in August. N’golo Kante was at his usual best in Russia as the midfielder made it impossible for his opponents to break France’s defense.

Harry Kane won the Golden Boot in Russia for his 6 goals in the tournament as he led England to the semi-finals for the first time since 1990. The striker also scored 30 goals for Tottenham in the Premier League. Eden Hazard moved on from a horrible season with Chelsea in no time as the Belgian has been on fire since the start of the World Cup. The 27-year old scored 3 goals in the World Cup and under Maurizio Sarri, Hazard has already scored 8 goals in just 10 appearances.

Isco has taken Real Madrid’s tally of nominated players to 4 as the midfielder is the latest player to join the list. The Spaniard’s inclusion comes as a little surprise given his no-show in the World Cup. But Isco did make 11 appearances for Los Blancos in the Champions League and finished the season with 91. 5% accuracy and 2 assists.

3:30 IST: Ronaldo the Big name in next five:

Next five nominees have been announced for 2018 Ballon d’Or, taking the tally to 10 players out of 30. Cristiano Ronaldo is the biggest name in the list, with the Portuguese in contention for the record 6th Ballon d’Or. Ronaldo won his 5th Champions League title with Real Madrid before moving to Juventus. The 33-year old had yet another stunning year with 15 UCL goals, 26 La Liga goals and 4 in Russia. CR7 has also adjusted to Italian football in no time with 4 goals and 4 assists in 8 Serie A appearances.

Belgian duo Kevin De Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois have also been nominated for the award after their impressive season for both club and country. Manchester City midfielder played a crucial role in the Premier League triumph with 8 goals and 16 assists. Courtois won the Golden Glove in Russia and Best Goalpeer award at FIFA’s The Best after helping Belgium to a third-place finish in the World Cup.

South American duo Roberto Firmino and Diego Godin round off the list for a time being. Firmino scored 10 goals in the Champions League as the Brazilian, along with Mane and Salah led Liverpool to the final. Deigo Godin, now 32, showed why he is still one of the best center-backs in the world with his performance in Russia. With Godin in defense, Uruguay kept all three clean-sheets in the group stage of the World Cup. The defender also won Europa League and European Super Cup with Atletico Madrid.

11:30 AM IST: First Five:

Sergio Aguero, Alisson Becker, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, and Edinson Cavani are the first five names declared for the award. Real Madrid’s third consecutive Champions League triumph has helped the Los Blancos to dominate the first list. Benzema scored crucial goals in both semi-final and final which has helped the Frenchman’s cause in an otherwise disappointing year. Gareth Bale came off the bench in the final against Liverpool and scored two goals to seal the title for the Spaniards.

Sergio Aguero scored 21 goals for Manchester City as Pep Guardiola’s team won the Premier League title in a record-breaking season. And Despite Argentina’s disappointing World Cup, the striker scored two goals in Russia. Edinson Cavani also won the league title with PSG and finished the season with 28 goals in the league, 7in the Champions League and 3 in Russia as Uruguay made it to the quarter-finals of the World Cup.

Alisson Becker, the only goalkeeper in the list had a year to remember as the Brazilian kept Lionel Messi quiet in the Champions League for Roma. His stellar season with the Italians was enough to seal the £65m deal with Liverpool as he became the most expensive goalkeeper after Gigi Buffon. The shot-stopper has continued his great form with 5 clean sheets in the Premier League so far.

Criteria for the award:

France Football has also revealed three main criteria which will be taken into consideration before choosing the winner.

The Ballon d’Or is awarded according to three main criteria. In order:

  1. Individual and collective performances (winners) during the year.
  2. Player class (talent and fair play).
  3. Player’s career.

The next list of players will be revealed soon as we expect the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric, Lionel Messi, Mo Salah and many more to join the party. The Croatian is favorite to win the award but he will face a tough fight from his former teammate Ronaldo and World Cup winners, Raphaël Varane, Antoine Griezmann, and Kylian Mbappe.

Stay tuned for more…

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