Kylian Mbappe similar to Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United - Antoine Griezmann

Bale, De Bruyne among first Ballon d'Or nominees

A panel of journalists selects the Ballon d'Or victor which was first established in 1956 and will this year feature a women's award for the first time.

Paul Pogba might have struggled to replicate his World Cup form with Manchester United, but the French midfielder's performances in Russian Federation mean he has also made the shortlist.

Pogba is one of six members of Les Bleus' squad nominated for France Football Magazine's prestigious award - with team-mates Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, Raphael Varane, N'Golo Kante and Hugo Lloris joining the midfield star.

Modric, a World Cup runner-up with Croatia, beat Juventus' Ronaldo and Salah to win the Federation Internationale de Football Association prize last month after Messi was surprisingly left off the final three-man list.

Bale, who scored two goals in Real's triumph in the final of the Champions League against Liverpool, joins his club teammate Karim Benzema among the first wave of 30 nominees for the year's best player.

The 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d'Or award was announced yesterday, with leading world stars such as Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé on the list alongside the likes of Mohamed Salah, Harry Kane and Eden Hazard, who have lit up the Premier League.

The likes of Luis Suarez, Sergio Ramos, N'Golo Kante and Eden Hazard have yet to get off the mark in terms of percentage of votes cast, while the FIFA "Best" award victor Luka Modric has also struggled for fan votes.

Firmino is nominated despite Liverpool failing to win a trophy last term and Brazil reaching only the World Cup quarter-finals, while Godin gets the nod following Atletico Madrid's victories in the Europa League and UEFA Super Cup.

For the first time ever, France Football is giving out a women's Ballon d'Or, with Germany's Dzsenifer Marozsan and Brazilian Marta among the top names in the running.

The Ballon d'Or is split into three separate criteria: performances during the calendar year, talent and fair play, and career achievements.



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