By Boluwatife Ezekiel Olaleye
The list of Nominees for the 2017 Ballon d’Or award, was released by the organizers of the annual award on Monday.
Ballon d’Or (French for ‘Golden Ball’) is an annual individual award, presented by the football magazine France Football which is given to the footballer who is deemed to have performed the best during the previous year.
The Ballon d’Or was initially different from FIFA’s World Player of the Year award, but the two merged in 2010 to become the FIFA Ballon d’Or. However, in 2016, the two awards were separated again after 5 years, with FIFA subsequently creating the new ‘The Best’ awards series.
The 30-man shortlist released on Monday for the 2017 Ballon d’Or has only two African players – Sadio Mane of Senegal and Liverpool FC and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon and Borussia Dortmund.
The current holder of the award is Portugal and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo who will be hoping to pick this year’s award and move level with long time rival, Lionel Messi who is a 5 time record winner of the award and is also among the latest nominees.
The list also include star names such as Neymar, N’Golo Kante and Kylian Mbappe who will all be hoping to smile home with the award next month when eventual winners are declared.
Here is the full list of nominees:
Luka Modric (Real Madrid/Croatia)
Paulo Dybala (Juventus/Argentina)
Marcelo (Real Madrid/Brazil)
N’Golo Kante (Chelsea/France)
Luis Suarez (Barcelona/Uruguay)
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid/Spain)
Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid/Slovenia)
Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool/Brazil)
Dries Mertens (Napoli/Belgium)
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City/Belgium)
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich/Poland)
David De Gea (Manchester United/Spain)
Harry Kane (Tottenham/England)
Edin Dzeko (Roma/Bosnia)
Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid/France)
Toni Kroos (Real Madrid/Germany)
Sadio Mane (Liverpool/Senegal)
Radamel Falcao (Monaco/Colombia)
Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus/Italy)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Argentina)
Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich/Germany)
Edinson Cavani (PSG/Uruguay)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund/Gabon)
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid/France)
Eden Hazard (Chelsea/Belgium)
Kylian Mbappe (PSG/France)
Isco (Real Madrid/Spain)
Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus/Italy)
The final winner(s) of the award, will be announced at a ceremony in London next month after voting by a select group of world journalists.