France Football have released the first 20 names on their 30-player shortlist for the 2019 Men’s Ballon d’Or award, with the winner to be revealed by the famous publication on 2 December in Paris.
The 2018 award was won by Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric and marked the first time that neither Cristiano Ronaldo nor Lionel Messi had received the accolade since Kaka won it 11 years earlier in 2007.
The first quintet announced contained a trio of Premier League players, with Sadio Mane, Sergio Aguero and Hugo Lloris joining Dusan Tadic and Frenkie de Jong.
Champions League winners Liverpool boast the most players so far, with six names on the list. Mane is joined by Virgil van Dijk, who was named 2019 UEFA Player of the Year, Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alisson Becker, Gini Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino.
Five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo was named in the third batch of nominees, while as many as 11 of the first 20 players are from the Premier League.
Lionel Messi is expected to be named in the last batch of shortlisted players.
Hugo Lloris Tottenham /France
Sadio Mane Liverpool /Senegal
Sergio Aguero Manchester City /Argentina
Dusan Tadic Ajax/Serbia
Frenkie de Jong Barcelona/Netherlands
Kylian Mbappe Paris Saint-Germain/France
Trent Alexander-Arnold Liverpool/England
Donny van de Beek Ajax/ Netherlands
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsenal/Gabon
Marc-Andre ter Stegen Barcelona/Germany
Gini Wijnaldum Liverpool/Netherlands
Cristiano Ronaldo Juventus/Portugal
Karim Benzema Real Madrid
Matthijs de Ligt Juventus/Netherlands
Virgil van Dijk Liverpool/Netherlands
Bernardo Silva Manchester City/Portugal
Son Heung-min Tottenham/South Korea
Robert Lewandowski Bayern Munich/Poland
Roberto Firmino Liverpool/Brazil
The 30 nominees have been chosen by the editorial staff at France Football, while the winner will be determined by the votes of an international panel of journalists – one per country.
There are three main criteria that nominees are judged on. These are: individual and team achievements over the last 12 months, a player’s talent and flair, and a player’s wider career.
Every voting journalist will get five picks, each worth a different value. A top pick is worth six points, with subsequent choices getting four, three, two or one point. In the event of two players getting the same number of total points, the number of first place votes will be taken in account, followed by second place votes, third place votes, and so on.
France Football also oversees the Women’s Ballon d’Or, which was new in 2018 and won for the first time by Lyon striker Ada Hegerberg, as well as the Kopa Trophy for players aged 21 or under, and the new Yachine Trophy to recognise the best goalkeeper of the calendar year.
The Ballon d’Or was briefly partnered with FIFA from 2010 until 2015, but the world governing body has already held its own separate 2019 award ceremony, during which Lionel Messi and USWNT icon Megan Rapinoe scooped the two main individual 2019 awards.