Modric v Ronaldo rematch as Ballon d'Or nominees unveiled

Silvia Morton
October 9, 2018

The Ballon d'Or, a prestigious award presented since 1956, is given to the best player of the year.

Other players vying for the 2018 Ballon d'Or include last year's victor Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Harry Kane, Eden Hazard and Antoine Griezmann, Sergio Aguero, Alisson, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Edinson Cavani, Thibaut Courtois, Ronaldo, Kevin De Bruyne, Roberto Firmino and Diego Godin.

The 33-year-old forward, who ended his nine-season stay at Real Madrid by moving to Juventus for £99million in the summer, is a five-time victor of the award.

Courtois is included after a season in which he won the FA Cup with Chelsea and came third at the World Cup with Belgium - winning the Golden Glove - before he moved to Real Madrid.

Nominees for the honour are being released gradually throughout Monday, with Manchester City pair Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne and Liverpool duo Alisson Becker and Roberto Firmino the current Premier League contenders.

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Real Madrid midfielder Isco, Liverpool's Brazilian Roberto Firmino and Uruguay's rugged defender Diego Godin of Atletico Madrid also got the nod.

For the first time, a Ballon d'Or for women players will be awarded this year, with Champions League winners Lyon accounting for seven of the 15 nominees.

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

But a combination of apparent voter fatigue, Croatia's fairytale run, and recent rape allegations against the Portuguese star have lessened his chances with the bookies, with Modric, who captured the rival FIFA Best Player award last month, now considered the odds-on favorite. Kylian Mbappe, the Paris Saint-Germain striker who burst onto the global scene with his performances as France won the World Cup, is the favourite.

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