Real Madrid shine in list of nominees for Ballon d'Or

Real Madrid shine in list of nominees for Ballon d'Or

Tottenham's Kane, 25, helped England reach the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russian Federation, while 29-year-old Bale scored twice for Real Madrid in the Champions League win over Liverpool. The award ceremony takes place on December 3.

The Juventus forward, now facing allegations of rape dating back to 2009 that he strenuously denies, has already won the Ballon d'Or five times and is the current holder of the award.

Eden Hazard gives Chelsea another player in the running after starring alongside De Bruyne at the World Cup, with England's Golden Boot victor Harry Kane also included.

"The betting suggests Messi and Ronaldo's grip on the Ballon d'Or could be coming to an end this year as Luka Modric is odds-on to win the prize following his performances at the World Cup with Croatia and domestically for Real Madrid", said Coral's John Hill.

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Federation Internationale de Football Association split from the Ballon d'Or in 2016 to launch its own set of awards.

Victory in the Champions League for the third consecutive season and their players among the World Cup finalists in Russian Federation have resulted in the Spanish side being well represented.

Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero is nominated as is another prolific South American striker, Edinson Cavani of Uruguay and Paris Saint-Germain.

Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and Atletico Madrid defender Diego Godin also make the final nominees, released throughout Monday by French magazine France Football.

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A panel of journalists selects the Ballon d'Or victor which was first established in 1956 and will this year feature a women's award for the first time.

In another first, the best under-21 player will receive the Kopa Trophy.

Sir Stanley Matthews won the first Ballon d'Or in 1956.

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