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.
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.
Messi has just collected the FIFA Best award, as did Rapinoe, which split from the Ballon D’Or in 2016.
Rapinoe dominated the Women’s World Cup, on and off the field, in the summer. She was a joint top scorer and was voted player of the tournament as she led the United States to victory in France in July.
The 34-year-old Reign FC playmaker, already a campaigner for LGBT rights and gender equality, made headlines during the tournament by publicly taking on US President Donald Trump. Last year, Norwegian Ada Hegerberg was the first women’s winner.
As for this year’s prize, Modric said: “I think it will be difficult, but for me, there are four names that stand out: Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Virgil van Dijk, and Mohamed Salah. I wish them good luck.”
Messi has already won FIFA’s The Best and is one of the favorites to win the Ballon d’Or after winning La Liga with Barcelona and claiming the sixth European Golden Shoe of his career. The alternatives are Ronaldo, a Serie A winner with Juventus, and Liverpool’s Champions League winner Van Dijk.
As well as Messi, Barça teammates Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann have also been nominated in the male category, while Lieke Martens is up for the women’s award.
Another nominee, Kylian Mbappe, the top goalscorer in Ligue 1 last season, would represent a genuine chance of the guard.
The Paris Saint-Germain striker is ineligible to defend his Kopa trophy for the best player under 21 last year as he celebrates his 21st birthday on December 20.
This year also sees the introduction of the Yashin trophy, named after the only goalkeeper to win the Ballon D’Or, Lev Yashin of the Soviet Union, to give that ignored minority a chance to get their hands on a prize of their own.
The award winners will be unveiled on December 2 during a ceremony in Paris after a voting process including journalists from 180 different countries.