The Ballon d’Or 2018 will mark precisely 10 years since Cristiano Ronaldo first scooped up the award in 2008, leading to an entire decade in which he and Lionel Messi dominated the trophy as both winners and runners-up.
Both superstars now have five (five!) Ballons d’Or apiece, and what with both of them underperforming at the World Cup with their respective nations, it may be time for a new era where a new player finally usurps them to the biggest individual honour in football.
Luka Modric being crowned the FIFA Best Men’s Player of the Year has significantly changed the football landscape, becoming the first non-Messi or Ronaldo player since Kaka in 2007 to lift such an award.
Mbappe is another star who is in contention to win the Ballon d’Or after playing a pivotal role in France’s World Cup success off the back of an excellent season at Paris Saint-Germain (with odds of 12/1) and being named as part of the FIFA FIFPro World XI.
Paul Pogba and Harry Kane are among 11 Premier League stars on the 30-man long list for this year’s Ballon d’Or, joining the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Luka Modric.
Mohamed Salah also takes his place on the list after a sensational debut season in the Premier League in which he scored 32 goals and helped Liverpool reach the Champions League final.
Salah’s team-mates Alisson, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane make the cut too.
Early favourite Luka Modric has the chance to end the Messi-Ronaldo duopoly after a year that featured another Champions League win and a World Cup where he was voted best player and finished runner-up with Croatia.
After a third straight Champions League win, Real Madrid boast no less than eight nominees.
Karim Benzema , Gareth Bale, Thiabut Courtois, Isco, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane all join Modric in Los Blancos’ presence on the list. However, midfielder Toni Kroos is a notable omission.
Messi’s Barcelona colleagues Ivan Rakitic and Luis Suarez also feature, as do Neymar and Edinson Cavani.