The FIFA Ballon d’Or season is just around the corner and the nominees have been released. The usual suspects, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will be present and the favourites. However, they will be joined by Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk as one of the front-runners. Interestingly, one notable name was missing from the list, a certain Brazilian called Neymar.
When the long list of 30 candidates was announced on Monday in Paris the Brazil star’s name was missing from the nominations by a global voting panel of journalists. Another high-profile absentee was last year’s Ballon d’Or winner, Luka Modric.
Messi and Ronaldo’s 10-year death grip on the Ballon d’Or was broken by Real Madrid’s Modric last December.
Messi will undoubtedly have a leg up in the race, having won his sixth FIFA award last month. Meanwhile, Van Dijk would be the first defender topping the poll since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.
The Liverpool centre back will have company with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander Arnold and Georginio Wijnaldum.
Marc Andre ter Stegen, Hugo Lloris and Becker are the sole representatives among the goalkeepers. Joao Felix is also the youngest nominee among the lot. It is also worth noting that US star, Megan Rapinoe is one of the front-runners for the Ballon d’Or Feminin.
Here is the list in full: