Ballon d'Or
Messi inspires Barca to a 4-2 win over Spurs at Wembley (image courtesy Reuters)

France Football Magazine has shortlisted 30 players for the 2018 Ballon d’Or with Cristiano Ronaldo again headlining the list.

Ronaldo makes the list despite facing an allegation of rape by a woman he met in Las Vegas in 2009. He has denied the accusation.

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The Portuguese forward – who won his fifth Ballon d’Or in 2017 – is joined on the shortlist by Tottenham’s Harry Kane and former Real Madrid team-mates Gareth Bale, Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane.

Among the nominees announced on Monday, are Chelsea duo Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante.

Liverpool forwards Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah are also in contention.

Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappe and Hugo Lloris were some of the World Cup-winning France squad recognised by France Football.

Lionel Messi, another five-time Balon d’Or winner, has been shortlisted for the award with former Barcelona team-mate Neymar.

The names were released in groups of five throughout the day, with a 30-man shortlist drawn up ahead of the awards ceremony in Paris on December 3.

The Ballon d’Or is separate from FIFA’s own world player of the year awards, known as The Best, which was won by Real Madrid’s Croatia midfielder Luka Modric.

The shortlist is curated by the editorial office of France Football, and the winner is then picked from the list by a panel of international journalists, with one representative per country.

The Ballon d’Or is awarded according to three separate criteria. The panel judge nominees on: their performances during the calendar year, their talent and fair play, and their achievements throughout their career.

Each panel member picks their top five nominees, with their first pick being awarded six points, their second pick receiving four points, their third three points, their fourth two points and their final pick one point.

The player with the most points received once all panel members have cast their votes is awarded the Ballon d’Or. In the event of a tie, the player with the most first picks is given the award.