Gareth Bale among first five Ballon d’Or nominees
Real Madrid and Wales forward Gareth Bale is among the nominees for this year’s men’s Ballon d’Or award.
Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne and striker Sergio Aguero are also contenders, as are Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson and forward Robert Firmino.
The 30-man list of nominees will be revealed throughout the day.
The Ballon d’Or, a prestigious award presented since 1956, is given to the best player of the year.
The ceremony to announce the winner will take place in Paris on 3 December, when a women’s award will be presented for the first time.
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.
Atletico Madrid defender Diego Godin, Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema and keeper Thibaut Coutois, and Paris St-Germain attacker Edinson Cavani are the other nominees to have been named so far.
What is the Ballon d’Or?
The Ballon d’Or has been awarded by France Football every year since 1956, with former England international Sir Stanley Matthews the first winner.
The list is compiled by the editorial staff of the French publication, with the winner voted for by journalists from around the world, with one representative per nation.
For six years it combined with world football’s governing body to become the Fifa Ballon d’Or.
However, Fifa ended its association with the award in September 2016.
At Fifa’s awards in September, Croatia and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric was named the world’s best male player, while Brazil and Orlando Pride forward Marta won the best female player award.
|Ballon d’Or winners: Ronaldo & Messi dominate since 2008|
|2008||Cristiano Ronaldo||Lionel Messi||Fernando Torres|
|2009||Lionel Messi||Cristiano Ronaldo||Xavi|
|2010||Lionel Messi||Andres Iniesta||Xavi|
|2011||Lionel Messi||Cristiano Ronaldo||Xavi|
|2012||Lionel Messi||Cristiano Ronaldo||Andres Iniesta|
|2013||Cristiano Ronaldo||Lionel Messi||Franck Ribery|
|2014||Cristiano Ronaldo||Lionel Messi||Manuel Neuer|
|2015||Lionel Messi||Cristiano Ronaldo||Neymar|
|2016||Cristiano Ronaldo||Lionel Messi||Antoine Griezmann|
|2017||Cristiano Ronaldo||Lionel Messi||Neymar|