The nominees for the most prestigious individual prize in the world of football are out. In what comes as no surprise, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are leading the men's nominations along with 28 other players for the accolade, which is awarded by France Football every year.
The Ballon d'Or is awarded by France Football every year to the footballer who has enjoyed outstanding success for both club and country. The shortlist is compiled with renowned journalist from around the world casting their votes.
This year marks the 62nd edition of award which made its inception in 1956 with England international Sir Stanley Matthews being its first winner in the inaugural edition. For six years the award was given in collaboration with FIFA. However, in 2016, FIFA decided to end its association with award. This move saw FIFA launch its own set of awards calling it - The Best.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the joint-record holders of the Ballon d'Or, winning the accolade five times. However, the duo who have dominated every individual award for the past 10 years, could see their streak come under a threat by Luka Modric, who is also among the front runners for this years prize. The Croatian recently won the UEFA 'Men's Player of the Year' and the FIFA Best Player award, and that makes him a strong contender for the Ballon d'Or.
This season's 30-man shortlist consists of some familiar names with some outstanding statistics. Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane are the only Africans to feature in the list, while Real Madrid has the most number of players on the shortlist.
The other nominees include World Cup winning stars like Paul Pogba, Ngolo Kante and Antoine Griezmann. The list also includes Premier League stars like Eden Hazard, Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane and David de Gea.
The winner will be announced in a glittering award ceremony which will be held in Paris on December 3. For the first time ever, a women's award will also be presented at the star-studded awards ceremony. In another first, an award for the youngest player of the year has been introduced with French wonderkid Kylian Mbappe and USMNT superstar Christian Pulisic leading the nominations.