David de Gea and Harry Kane have joined the likes of Neymar and Luis Suarez as nominees for the 2017 Ballon d’Or award, with the first 15 candidates released.
Juventus forward Paulo Dybala and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric also feature, with France Football releasing the full 30-man list in batches over the course of October 9.
Neymar has been recognised following an eventful year that has seen the Brazil star impress for both his national team and Barcelona, before his world-record summer transfer to PSG.
Similarly Dybala has enjoyed a stand-out 2017, helping Juventus to yet another Serie A title and the Champions League final. Modric, meanwhile, played pivotal roles as Madrid won the Liga title, while Zinedine Zidane’s side became the first team to win back-to-back Champions League titles, and is joined on the list by team-mates Sergio Ramos and Marcelo.
Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante is also among the nominees after he claimed his second Premier League title in a row following his switch from Leicester City. Philippe Coutinho, De Gea, Kane and Kevin De Bruyne are also recognised for their performances in the English top-flight.
Other nominees include Napoli forward Dries Mertens, Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak and Roma striker Edin Dzeko, who finished as Serie A’s top goalscorer last season..
The next announcement is due at 17:50 (CET), with further confirmation of nominees coming at 18:35 and 19:15.
Both Cristiano Ronaldo, who is the current holder of the award and aiming to claim his fifth title, and Lionel Messi are expected to be nominated later in the day, while the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Gianluigi Buffon are also likely to be included.
The list of 2017 Ballon d’Or nominees will be shown below, and will be updated as more announcements are made through the day…
The Ballon d’Or (French for ‘Golden Ball’) is an annual individual award which is given to the footballer who is deemed to have performed the best during the previous year.
The accolade is presented by the football magazine France Football and it first appeared in 1956, when it was popularly known as the European Footballer of the Year award due to the fact that it was initially restricted to European players. In 1995, it expanded to include players of any nationality at European clubs before being adapted to include all players from around the world in 2007.
The Ballon d’Or was initially distinct from FIFA’s World Player of the Year award, but the two merged in 2010 to become the FIFA Ballon d’Or. However, that merger lasted just five years and the Ballon d’Or became separate from FIFA again in 2016, with the world governing body subsequently creating the new ‘The Best’ awards series.
Who has won the most Ballon d’Or awards?
Since its formation in 1956, the Ballon d’Or has been won by many different players, but no one has been as successful as Lionel Messi. The Barcelona star has won on five occasions, finishing in the top three a total of 10 times. Behind Messi is his long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo with four awards and the Real Madrid talisman is hoping to pull level with the Argentine in 2017.
After Messi and Ronaldo, just hree players have won the Ballon d’Or three times, with Johan Cruyff shining in the 1970s, while Michel Platini and Marco van Basten dominated the 1980s. Franz Beckenbauer, Ronaldo, Kevin Keegan, Alfredo di Stefano and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge have each been presented with the accolade twice.
Among the others to have won the award are George Best, Zinedine Zidane, Michael Owen and George Weah, while Kaka, who won in 2007, was the last person outside of Messi and Ronaldo to scoop the prize.