Published: Wed, October 10, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Our writers pick their top three for the Ballon d'Or award

Our writers pick their top three for the Ballon d'Or award

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Paris on Monday December 3, with television coverage from 20:45 CET.

The Croatian had a stellar year, leading his country to an unlikely World Cup final while also winning a third-consecutive Champions League title.

Antoine Griezmann, a World Cup victor with France and Europa League champion at Atletico Madrid, is nominated alongside global teammate and Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante.

The 33-year-old won the FIFA The Best award earlier in the year, pipping Ronaldo and Salah to the trophy.

Eden Hazard gives Chelsea another player in the running after starring alongside De Bruyne at the World Cup, with England's Golden Boot victor Harry Kane also included.

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Men's shortlist so far: are Sergio Aguero from Argentina, Manchester City; Alisson Becker from Brazil, Liverpool; Gareth Bale from Wales, Real Madrid; Karim Benzema from France, Real Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo is in contention to retain the Ballon d'Or for the third successive year after being named on the 30-man shortlist.

Others are: Edinson Cavani from Uruguay, Paris St Germain; Thibaut Courtois from Belgium, Real Madrid; Cristiano Ronaldo from Portugal, Juventus; Kevin De Bruyne from Belgium, Manchester City.

But a combination of apparent voter fatigue, Croatia's fairytale run, and recent rape allegations against the Portuguese star have lessened his chances with the bookies, with Modric, who captured the rival FIFA Best Player award last month, now considered the odds-on favorite.

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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