Bale, De Bruyne In First Ballon D'or Nominees

Aubrey Yates
October 10, 2018

During the turn of the decade FIFA and Ballon d'Or merged together and was presented as one prestigious award but that association came to an end in 2016.

The Juventus forward, 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.

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.

But the Atletico Madrid man is clearly hoping that he or his countrymen get recognised later in the year, adding, "I think the Ballon d'Or has more prestige, a richer history".

Another man on the list who was part of Real's Champions League success is Luka Modric, who went on to lead Croatia on their run to the World Cup final.

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

For the first time, a Ballon d'Or for women players will be awarded this year, with the nominees to be announced later Monday.

Others are: Edinson Cavani from Uruguay, Paris St Germain; Thibaut Courtois from Belgium, Real Madrid; Cristiano Ronaldo from Portugal, Juventus; Kevin De Bruyne from Belgium, Manchester City.

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

Kylian Mbappe is third-favourite after winning the World Cup with France at the age of 19, with 6-1 odds.

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