Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale and Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero are among the first five players to make the shortlist for the 2018 Ballon d’Or award.
France Football are releasing the full 30-man shortlist throughout Monday as Bale and Aguero were joined by Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson, Madrid striker Karim Benzema and Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavni in the first five.
Names are released in alphabetical order with the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and FIFA ‘The Best’ winner Luka Modric certain to make the shortlist.
The award has been dominated by Messi and Ronaldo since 2008, each scoring five awards, but with Modric’s stellar season seeing him sweep the recent prizes, he is threatening to break up the duopoly.
The Ballon d’Or is considered the greatest personal accolade a player can achieve and this year’s awards ceremony will take place in Paris on December 3.
Kylian Mbappe, who hit four goals in 13 minutes on Sunday in the rout over Lyon, remains in the hunt for the award after ending his season with a World Cup winners’ medal with France.
Bale is now the main man at Real following Ronaldo’s summer switch to Juventus and he will hope he has done enough for his first Ballon d’Or.
The Welshman is enduring a tough start to the campaign under new boss Julen Lopetegui but made the difference in Kiev when it mattered most against Liverpool to secure a third straight Champions League title in May.
From a Premier League perspective no player has made the top three in a decade with Fernando Torres, then of Liverpool, finishing third and Ronaldo, then of Manchester United, winning the award.