Fifa's best player Modric in contention for Ballon d'Or

PARIS • Fifa Best Player of the Year Luka Modric remains on track for a second major award after he was on Monday named among 30 nominees for the Ballon d'Or, alongside the likes of Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Real Madrid star, a World Cup runner-up with Croatia, beat Ronaldo and Liverpool's Mohamed Salah to win the Fifa prize last month after Messi was surprisingly omitted from the final three-man list.

Ronaldo, currently facing allegations of rape dating back to 2009 which he has denied, has already won the Ballon d'Or five times and is the current holder of the accolade, while Messi has also won the award on five occasions.

Fifa split from the Ballon d'Or in 2016 to launch its own set of awards. The winner of the Ballon d'Or, which is organised by France Football magazine, will be announced on Dec 3 in Paris.

Modric's Welsh teammate at Real, Gareth Bale, and Manchester City's Kevin de Bruyne also featured among a list of familiar names. Bale is joined by clubmates Karim Benzema, Raphael Varane, Isco, Marcelo and Sergio Ramos.

De Bruyne was nominated for helping City win the Premier League title and for starring in the Belgium team who took third place at the World Cup.

  • NOMINEES

  • GOALKEEPERS

    Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Alisson Becker (Liverpool), Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid)

    DEFENDERS

    Diego Godin (Atletico), Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo (all Real)

    MIDFIELDERS

    Kevin de Bruyne (Man City), Isco, Luka Modric (both Real), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Paul Pogba (Man United), N'Golo Kante (Chelsea)

    FORWARDS

    Sergio Aguero (Man City), Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane (all Liverpool), Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema (both Real), Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar (all PSG), Cristiano Ronaldo, Mario Mandzukic (both Juventus), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez (both Barcelona)

Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann, who recently declared that he was "sitting at the same table" as Messi and Ronaldo as far as the prestigious year-end award was concerned, also had his reservation to the ceremony confirmed.

He was shortlisted alongside France teammate and Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante, with Belgium captain Eden Hazard giving the Blues another player in the running.

World Cup winners France had plenty of celebrate with Manchester United's Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain among five players to be selected.

There were four goalkeepers in the list - Thibaut Courtois of Real, Liverpool's Alisson, Spurs' Hugo Lloris and Jan Oblak of Atletico.

There will also be an inaugural Ballon d'Or for women players this year and in another first, the best Under-21 player will receive the Kopa Trophy. Mbappe, who burst onto the global scene in Russia, is the odds-on favourite to win it.

The Ballon d'Or, which was first won by Englishman Stanley Matthews in 1956, is decided by a ballot of journalists from around the world.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 10, 2018, with the headline 'Fifa's best player Modric in contention for Ballon d'Or'. Print Edition | Subscribe