Players like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Manchester United player Paul Pogba have been named in the 30-man shortlist for the prestigious annual accolade.

Lionel Messi is defending the title, but traditionally his biggest competitor is Cristiano Ronaldo. This year Ronaldo could win the prestigious award since in the previous season he won the Champions League title with Real Madrid and European Championship title with Portugal. The prize is traditionally awarded FIFA in collaboration with the French magazine France Football.

The names of the 30 players who were nominated and who will drop in stages until finally, only three will be left were revealed throughout the day.

First, in the public were released the following names: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dormtund), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid).

Later, the France Football announced five more candidates: Antoine Griezmann (Real Madrid), Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus) and Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City).

Then the five other candidates saw the light of day: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (PSG), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) and Koke (Atletico Madrid).

In the fourth round: Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City) and Hugo Lloris (Tottenham).

The fifth round brought us five new names, and they were: Pepe (Real Madrid), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Dimitri Payet (West Ham), Neymar (Barcelona).

France Football’s top 30 players was concluded with the following names: Rui Patricio (Sporting), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich) and Luis Suarez (Barcelona).

List of top 30 players-candidates for the Ballon d’Or:

  1. Sergio Aguero
  2. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
  3. Gianluigi Buffon
  4. Gareth Bale
  5. Cristiano Ronaldo
  6. Antoine Griezmann
  7. Diego Godin
  8. Paulo Dybala
  9. Gonzalo Higuain
  10. Kevin de Bruyne
  11. Robert Lewandowski
  12. Zlatan Ibrahimović
  13. Andres Iniesta
  14. Toni Kroos
  15. Koke
  16. Thomas Muller
  17. Luka Modrić
  18. Lionel Messi
  19. Riyad Mahrez
  20. Hugo Lloris
  21. Pepe
  22. Paul Pogba
  23. Manuel Neuer
  24. Dimitri Payet
  25. Neymar
  26. Rui Patricio
  27. Sergio Ramos
  28. Jamie Vardy
  29. Arturo Vidal
  30. Luis Suarez

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