With a fight between Lionel Messi and Virgil van Dijk expected, Luka Modric became the first player in history not to be present in the 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or after winning the award in the previous year.
While Megan Rapinoe is the leading candidate for the second-ever women’s Ballon D’Or, the holder of the men’s award, Luka Modric, and the world’s most expensive player Neymar missed out as France Football unveiled nominees in four categories on Monday.
Luka Modric, fresh from guiding Croatia to a World Cup final, broke the 11-year Cristiano Ronaldo-Lionel Messi, who are both included, a stranglehold on the men’s award last year. Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar, who cost the French club 222 million euros (USD 247 million) in 2017, failed to make the 30-man shortlist after a year overshadowed by injury, suspension, and controversy for both club and country.
Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, who has won the award 10 times between them, are included, but Messi’s former teammate Neymar, who now plays for Paris Saint Germain, missed out.
Tottenham Hotspur striker Son Heung-min and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris made the cut, but there was no room for their teammate Harry Kane, while Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba was another high-profile omission.
On the other hand, Luka Modric became the first player in history not to be present in the 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or after winning the award in the previous year.
Liverpool: Virgil van Dijk; Roberto Firmino; Alisson; Georginio Wijnaldum; Trent Alexander-Arnold; Sadio Mane; Mohammed Salah
Manchester City: Bernardo Silva; Riyad Mahrez; Kevin de Bruyne; Raheem Sterling; Sergio Aguero
Tottenham Hotspur: Son Heung-min; Hugo Lloris
Barcelona: Lionel Messi; Antoine Griezmann; Frenkie de Jong; Marc-Andre ter Stegen
Real Madrid: Eden Hazard; Karim Benzema
Juventus: Cristiano Ronaldo; Matthijs de Ligt
Bayern Munich: Robert Lewandowski
Ajax Amsterdam: Dusan Tadic; Donny van de Beek
Paris Saint Germain: Kylian Mbappe; Marquinhos
Arsenal: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Napoli: Kalidou Koulibaly
Atletico Madrid: Joao Felix