Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk have all been shortlisted for this year’s Ballon d’Or prize, as France Football announced its 30-man shortlist on Monday night.
Mane and Van Dijk were among seven Liverpool players to be named and were joined by Premier League counterparts Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang among others.
Mane, Salah and Van Dijk’s Liverpool team-mates Roberto Firmino, Alisson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Trent Alexander-Arnold were also included for their involvement in Liverpool’s sixth Champions League triumph.
Ronaldo and Messi are both going for a sixth Ballon d’Or title. Rightly heralded as the world’s best players for the past decade, the duo will once again go head to head this year.
Meanwhile, Hugo Lloris was among the shortlisted stars despite an indifferent season between the sticks for Tottenham Hotspur.
Manchester City star Silva has been shortlisted for his contributions to his side’s Premier League title win last season. He was joined by fellow City midfielders Riyad Mahrez and Kevin De Bruyne.
Raheem Sterling was also rewarded for his impressive form over the past 12 months with a nomination to complete City’s representation on the shortlist. Tottenham forward Son Heung-min is included after helping guide Mauricio Pochettino’s side to the Champions League final.
BALLON D’OR 30-MAN SHORTLIST
Sadio Mane – Liverpool
Sergio Aguero – Manchester City
Frenkie de Jong – Ajax/ Barcelona
Hugo Lloris – Tottenham
Dusan Tadic – Ajax
Kylian Mbappe – PSG
Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool
Donny van de Beek – Ajax
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Arsenal
Marc-Andre Ter-Stegen – Barcelona
Cristiano Ronaldo – Juventus
Alisson – Liverpool
Matthijs de Ligt – Juventus
Karim Benzema – Real Madrid
Georginio Wijnaldum – Liverpool
Virgil van Dijk – Liverpool
Bernardo Silva – Manchester City
Heung-min Son – Tottenham Hotspur
Robert Lewandowski – Bayern Munich
Roberto Firmino – Liverpool
Lionel Messi – Barcelona
Kevin de Bruyne – Manchester City
Kalidou Koulibaly – Napoli
Riyad Mahrez – Manchester City
Antoine Griezmann – Barcelona
Mohamed Salah – Liverpool
Joao Felix – Atletico Madrid
Eden Hazard – Real Madrid
Marquinhos – PSG
Raheem Sterling – Manchester City
Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe was also on the list alongside team-mate Marquinhos, Donny van de Beek and Marc-Andre Ter-Stegen.
Ronaldo’s former Real Madrid team-mate Karim Benzema is on the list as well while Juventus and Netherlands defender Matthijs de Ligt has been shortlisted after a fine breakout season with Ajax, as has former Southampton striker Dusan Tadic.
Eden Hazard also has a chance of winning the award after being named in the final batch of nominees. He was joined by Madrid rival Joao Felix after his stunning rise to prominence at Benfica.
Experienced striker Robert Lewandowski makes the shortlist despite a relatively quiet season for the German champions Bayern Munich.
Antoine Griezmann, who joined Barcelona from Atletico Madrid this summer, was also among the nominees. Last year, Messi and Ronaldo’s Ballon d’Or dominance was ended by Real Madrid’s Luka Modric, who enjoyed a magnificent year guiding Madrid to a third straight Champions League trophy as well as leading his native Croatia to the World Cup final.
However, the midfielder doesn’t make the hefty shortlist this year. Nor does his team-mate Gareth Bale after a turbulent year in the Spanish capital.