Football news - Ballon d'Or: Who are favourites to win top prize? Ronaldo, Messi or Modric?
We assess the leading five candidates in the running for this year's Ballon d'Or including five-time winners Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, and FIFA world player of year Luka Modric.
Luka Modric (Real Madrid & Croatia)
- Odds 4/7
Strong favourite to add the Ballon d'Or to his FIFA player of the year. Was superb in captaining Croatia to the World Cup final where they lost 4-2 to a multi-talented France team, and picked up the Golden Ball as player of the tournament for a string of outstanding display. Also a key man in Real Madrid's Champions League success as they downed Liverpool 3-1 in the final to lift the club game's biggest trophy for third straight year.
Was named in the Champions League team of the season for a third straight year.
Finally, after a decade of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi dominating this event, it appears the wait for a new winner is over. And the man is surely going to be Modric.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus & Portgual)
- Odds 5/4
Suffered an early exit at the World Cup finals with Portugal suffering defeat to Uruguay in the last 16, but still ended the year as a Champions League winner for a fifth time with Real Madrid before his €100m summer move to Italian champions Juventus. Was top scorer in the Champions League for a sixth straight season with 15 goals.
Ronaldo's nomination comes after the 33-year-old last week denied rape allegations levelled against him by a woman who sued him in court in the United States.
Sportswear maker Nike Inc and video game maker Electronic Arts Inc, who both have worked with the five-times Champions League winner, said last Thursday they were concerned about the allegations.
Another superb season for Ronaldo as he scored 26 times in 27 Liga games for Madrid, but would surely be a surprise if he beat Modric to top place this time.
Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain & France)
- Odds 12/1
The 19-year-old played a key role in France's World Cup success, scoring four goals during a memorable tournament for his country. Claimed the young player award at the finals. Joined Pele as the only teenager to score in a World Cup final. Bludgeoned Lyon in early October, netting four times in a 5-0 drubbing of their Ligue 1 rivals.
Has already scored eight times in five Ligue 1 outings this term.
Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid & France)
- Odds 12/1
Another figure who impressed hugely at the World Cup, winning the man of the match award against Croatia in the final and finishing behind Modric and Eden Hazard as the third best player at the tournament.
Also scored twice for Atletico Madrid in their 3-0 win over Marselle in the Europa League final.
Finished third behind Ronaldo and Messi in the Ballon running last year, but will feel he stands an improved chance this year having scored four times and contributed two assists to the French cause in conquering Russia.
Atleico manager Diego Simeone believes the forward is the best player in world because of his contribution to club and country.
Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina)
A fairly forgettable World Cup for the Barcelona attacker as Argentina, plagued by internal turmoil, toiled to make the last 16 before going out 4-3 to winners France.
Did not make the final three-man shortlist for the FIFA best player award which suggests, as odd as it may sound, he is unlikely to be among the favourites to lift the Ballon d'Or.
Yet still enjoyed a remarkable domestic season for Barcelona as he scored 45 goals in 54 matches to help his side claim a 25th Liga title while setting the longest unbeaten run in La Liga history of 43 games in May.
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool & Egypt)
Won't win the trophy, but few would begrudge him a place on the shortlist after a quite exceptional debut season with Liverpool.
Scored 32 goals in his first season at Anfield to win the Premier League Golden Boot, the most any forward has scored in a 38-game season in England's top flight, and finished second behind only Messi in the European Golden Shoe race.
Was pivotal in Liverpool's surge to the Champions League final, but suffered an infamous injury in colliding with Sergio Ramos during the 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid. Ended the Champions League campaign with 11 goals in 17 matches on his way to finishing third in the FIFA player of the year award.
Did not fully recover from injury before the World Cup as Egypt were eliminated in the group stage.