Cristiano Ronaldo in contention for third successive Ballon d’Or

Cristiano Ronaldo in contention for third successive Ballon d’Or

Cristiano Ronaldo is in contention to retain the Ballon d’Or for the third successive year after being named on the 30-man shortlist.

The 33-year-old forward, who ended his nine-season stay at Real Madrid by moving to Juventus for £99million in the summer, is a five-time winner of the award.

Ronaldo played a key role in Real’s Champions League triumph last season and scored a World Cup hat-trick for Portugal against Spain.

Ronald has been in the headlines recently after strenuously denying allegations of rape.

Nominees for the honour are being released gradually throughout Monday, with Manchester City pair Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne and Liverpool duo Alisson Becker and Roberto Firmino the current Premier League contenders.

Wales international Gareth Bale, scorer of a brace in Real’s European final win over Liverpool, is among the 10 names already released.

Bale’s club-mate Luka Modric, who is yet to be named as a candidate, is among the early favourites after Real’s European success against the Reds and leading Croatia to the World Cup final.

The honour, now separate from FIFA’s own Best player of the year award, is bestowed annually by France Football magazine.

Tottenham and England striker Harry Kane and Chelsea pair Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante increased the Premier League representation when the third set of nominees was announced.

Kane scored 30 Premier League goals last season, the first time he has reached the landmark, and then won the World Cup Golden Boot with six goals as England reached the semi-finals.

Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann, a World Cup winner with France, and Real and Spain midfielder Isco are also in contention.

Confirmed nominees: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Alisson Becker (Liverpool), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Edinson Cavani (Paris St Germain), Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Isco (Real Madrid).


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