Premier League clubs top Ballon d'Or nominees

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GETTYBarcelona News Lionel Messi is causing Cristiano Ronaldo to be envious at Real Madrid

Madrid star Ronaldo, who beat Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann to the award last year, is expected to be announced among the nominees later after helping Madrid to a third Champions League crown in four seasons and a first La Liga title in five years, as well as the FIFA Club World Cup.

Chelsea's N'Golo Kante has been shortlisted for the prestigious Ballon d'Or award.

The very first name to come out was that of Paris Saint-Germain's €222m superstar Neymar, quickly followed by Real Madrid midfield maestro Luka Modric. France Football has opted to stagger out the nominees throughout yesterday, with Liverpool's Coutinho among the first 10 players to be announced.

Others in the shortlist are Italy's Leonardo Bonucci, Frances's Karim Benzema, former African footballer of the Year, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Edison Cavani and Matts Hummels.

David de Gea, Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane, Kevin de Bruyne and N'Golo Kante, have also been chosen.

The award, which returned to France Football's jurisdiction past year for the first time since 2009 after the magazine's split with FIFA, is now held by Cristiano Ronaldo. Gareth Bale misses out, while Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are selected.

The Ballon d'Or is judged by France Football journalists.

Wales forward Bale, 28, has only scored five goals for Real Madrid this year, struggling for form and fitness at the end of last season.

According to the new rules, media representatives will vote for their best player from a pool of 30 nominated footballers, and there will be no announcement of three finalists before the award is presented to the victor.

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