Familiar names Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are once again headlining the 30-man shortlist for 2019 Ballon d’Or, with Virgil van Dijk joining the duo as top favourites in the contest for the crown of best player in the world.
Having already grabbed FIFA’s The Best award in September, Barcelona captain Messi is in the hunt for his sixth Ballon d’Or, which he last won in 2015, and will be hoping to add it to his collection.
Juventus forward Ronaldo, whose last Ballon d’Or triumph came in 2017, could also potentially win the award for the sixth time, while Van Dijk, if he is chosen, would become the first defender to win it since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.
France Football confirmed the nominees on Monday and the winner of the prestigious award is set to be announced at a ceremony which will take place on December 2.
Real Madrid playmaker Luka Modric broke a decade-long duopoly between Messi and Ronaldo when he won the 2018 edition and the Croatia international has been included in the list of nominees.
Other nominees for the 2019 Ballon d’Or include Liverpool stars Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, who were massively influential in the Reds’ Champions League success.
Manchester City stars Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling have made the list after leading Pep Guardiola’s side’s charge for domestic glory.
Goalkeeper Alisson Becker is also nominated having starred for Liverpool and Brazil, while Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe is in the running after a goal-laden campaign for the Ligue 1 champions.
The award, which is independent of FIFA since 2016, takes into account the performances of a player for the calendar year rather than the previous season.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who have won the award 10 times between them, again feature among the contenders.
Full list of nominees for Ballon d’Or award:
Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)
Son Heung-min (Tottenham)
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus)
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool)
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona)
Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)
Dusan Tadic (Ajax)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)
Kylian Mbappe (Paris St-Germain)
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
Donny van de Beek (Ajax)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona)
Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)
Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)
Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli)
Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona)
Mohammed Salah (Liverpool)
Eden Hazard (Real Madrid)
Marquinhos (Paris St-Germain)
Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid)