Published On: Mon, Oct 9th, 2017

Neymar, Kane, Modric among first nominees on Ballon d'Or shortlist

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Gianluca Nesci

54m ago

Antonio Villalba / Real Madrid / Getty

The race to dethrone Cristiano Ronaldo is officially on.

The nominees for the 2017 Ballon d’Or are being released, with award organiser France Football revealing the 30-man shortlist in five-player installments throughout the day.

The first batch of superstars was highlighted by one of the few men with a legitimate chance of snatching the throne from Ronaldo: Paris Saint-Germain focal point Neymar.

The likes of Robert Lewandowski, David De Gea, Harry Kane, and Kevin De Bruyne have also been unveiled as nominees for the coveted golden trophy.

Real Madrid’s Ronaldo, who remains the favourite to capture the prize for a second consecutive year – and record-equalling fifth time overall – was a lock for the honour after finishing the 2016-17 campaign on a tear. His sluggish start to the new season, though, has given renewed hope to some of his competitors. Chief among them is Lionel Messi – the only player to ever win the award five times, Messi is off to a blistering start in 2017-18.

The two men, who have combined to win world football’s highest individual award for the past nine years, are all but assured to be named as finalists later in the day.

Here are the 15 nominees who have been revealed thus far:

Neymar (PSG), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Marcelo (Real Madrid), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Luis Suarez (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), David De Gea (Manchester United), Edin Dzeko (Roma).

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