The race for who wins the 2018 Ballon d’Or award has started as French Football magazine released a list of nominees, with some of the finest names in world football making the cut.
Cristiano Ronaldo was included in the 30-man shortlist despite facing an allegation of rape by a woman he met in Las Vegas in 2009; an allegation he denied.
The Portuguese forward who won his fifth Ballon d’Or in 2017 is joined on the shortlist by Harry Kane and former Real Madrid team-mates Gareth Bale, Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane.
Tottenham’s striker, Kane, was among the nominees announced on Monday, along with Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante.
Liverpool’s forwards, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, are also in contention alongside World Cup winners Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappe and Hugo Lloris.
Meanwhile, Lionel Messi, another five-time Balon d’Or winner, has been shortlisted for the award with former Barcelona team-mate, Neymar.
The names were released in groups of five throughout the day, with a 30-man shortlist drawn up ahead of the awards ceremony in Paris on December 3.
The Ballon d’Or is separate from FIFA’s own world player of the year awards, known as The Best, which was won by Real Madrid’s Croatia midfielder, Luka Modric.
The shortlist is curated by the editorial office of France Football, and the winner is then picked from the list by a panel of international journalists, with one representative per country.