Ballon d'Or award nominees: Gareth Bale Sergio Aguero Alisson on list

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.

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.

The Croatian had a stellar year, leading his country to an unlikely World Cup final while also winning a third-consecutive Champions League title. While Messi, who last won the prize in 2015, enjoyed another year of stellar goalscoring feats, Barcelona's early Champions League exit and Argentina's failure to make the last eight of the World Cup have likely ruled him out of contention.

Pogba was named on the 30-man shortlist for the award earlier this week after helping France to World Cup glory in Russian Federation in the summer.

Antoine Griezmann, a World Cup victor with France and Europa League champion at Atletico Madrid, is nominated alongside worldwide teammates, Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante, Manchester United's Paul Pogba and PSG's Kylian Mbappe.

After joining the Reds in the summer transfer window in 2017 from Roma, Salah scored over 40 goals for Liverpool in a debut season at Anfield.

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However, Fifa ended its association with the award in September 2016.

England only have one representative on the list in Harry Kane while Gareth Bale is also among the nominees.

Two goalkeepers are also among the first 15 - Thibaut Courtois of Belgium and Real Madrid and Liverpool and Brazil stopper Alisson Becker.

In another first, the best under-21 player will receive the Kopa Trophy.

The winners of the prestigious men's and women's awards will be announced at a ceremony in Paris on December 3 in Paris.

  • Lawrence Cooper