Embattled Ronaldo nominated for Ballon d’Or, but Modric now bookies’ favorite Five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric and Antoine Griezmann lead the shortlist for football’s most prestigious individual prize, while Kylian Mbappe is the standout in the race for the new Kopa Trophy for young players.
Specialist magazine France Football, which has awarded the prize since 1956, announced the 30 nominees for the calendar year trophy, among whom a winner will be chosen by a group of respected football journalists from around the world.
The last player other than Ronaldo or Lionel Messi to win the award was Kaka in 2007, but in 2018, Real Madrid midfielder Modric, who took his team to the World Cup final in Moscow, as well as winning the Champions League, is set to break the duopoly.
Ronaldo looked a certainty for his third straight Ballon d’Or after leading Real Madrid to their unprecedented threepeat in the continent’s prime club competition, where he was yet again the top scorer.
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.
Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann, two key members of the France national team that sailed to their second-ever World Cup trophy are also likely to finish with high tallies, as are Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne, members of Belgium’s star-studded side that came third at Russia 2018. While Messi, who last won the prize in 2015, enjoyed another year of stellar goalscoring feats, Barcelona’s early Champions League exit and Argentina’s failure to make the last eight of the World Cup have likely ruled him out of contention.
PSG’s Mbappe appears a dead certainty for the newly-introduced Kopa Trophy, which rewards the best players under 21, and is voted on by previous Ballon d’Or winners.
Nonetheless, the mere inclusion in the 10-man list is likely to bring hype both to players who are already household names, like Borussia Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic and Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, and rising stars such as 17-year-old Brazilian prodigy Rodrygo.
For the first time ever, France Football is giving out a women’s Ballon d’Or, with Germany’s Dzsenifer Marozsan and Brazilian Marta among the top names in the running.