Ballon d’Or: Lionel Messi, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo on shortlist
Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been confirmed on the 30-man shortlist for the 2016 Ballon d’Or.
France Football have announced the first 20 players in contention for the prize, awarded last year to Barcelona forward Messi.
Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Manchester City duo Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne, Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez, and Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris represent the Premier League.
Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Juventus trio Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain and Gianluigi Buffon also feature.
Real Madrid have Bale, Ronaldo, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric on the shortlist.
Atletico Madrid’s Diego Godin, Koke and Antoine Griezmann, Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta and Bayern Munich duo Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller are also on the shortlist as it stands, with the remaining 10 names to be revealed later on Monday.
Bale starred for Wales and and Ronaldo led Portugal at Euro 2016, and both helped Real Madrid win their second Champions League in three years in May.
Portugal captain Ronaldo, who last won the Ballon d’Or in 2014, is currently favourite to take home the trophy for the fourth time after helping his country beat Griezmann’s France to win Euro 2016.
This year’s edition of the prestigious individual prize will be judged solely by a panel of journalists after FIFA and France Football ended their partnership.
Between 2010 and 2015, FIFA’s World Player of the Year award had been combined with the Ballon d’Or to create the FIFA Ballon d’Or, which was decided by a combination of votes from national team managers, captains and journalists.
2016 Ballon d’Or shortlist (10 names still to be announced)
- Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund)
- Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)
- Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)
- Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
- Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
- Paulo Dybala (Juventus)
- Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid)
- Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)
- Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus)
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United)
- Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)
- Koke (Atletico Madrid)
- Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)
- Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
- Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)
- Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
- Riyad Mahrez (Leicester)
- Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
- Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)