Roberto Firmino and Eden Hazard make Ballon d'Or shortlist

Roberto Firmino and Eden Hazard make Ballon d'Or shortlist

In total 30 nominees will be announced, with the ceremony scheduled for 3 December.

He is joined by the holder and five-time victor Ronaldo, who is included after facing an allegation of rape by a woman he met in Las Vegas in 2009, which the Juventus striker denies.

The Ballon d'Or is separate from FIFA's own world player of the year awards, which was won by Real Madrid's Croatian midfielder Luka Modric.

The Ballon d'Or, a prestigious award presented since 1956, is given to the best player of the year.

De Bruyne was nominated for helping his club win the Premier League and his country reach the World Cup semi-finals.

Modric, coming off a year which saw him win the Champions League with Real Madrid and lead Croatia to the World Cup final, is seen as a strong possibility to break the hold Messi and Ronaldo have on the award.

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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Paris Saint-German forward Edinson Cavani - who came 11th in last year's poll - completed the quintet.

Nominees for the honour are being released gradually throughout Monday, with Manchester City pair Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne and Liverpool duo Alisson Becker and Roberto Firmino the current Premier League contenders.

Also making the cut are Juve's Mario Mandzukic and Liverpool's Sadio Mane, while Barcelona are also represented by Croat defender Ivan Rakitic.

Thirty players will be announced on the shortlist for the 2018 award.

Other nominees are Pernille Harder, Lindsey Horan, Fran Kirby, Sam Kerr, Lieke Martens, Megan Rapinoe and Christine Sinclair.

Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who joined Juventus from Real Madrid in the summer, won last year's Ballon d'Or.

In another first, the best under-21 player will receive the Kopa Trophy.

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