Ballon d'Or 30-Man Shortlist Announced

A big opportunity beckons

A big opportunity beckons

Last year's award, which was the first since France Football and FIFA's collaboration ended, was won by Cristiano Ronaldo, ahead of Messi and Griezmann. Ronaldo and Messi have shared the last nine awards, while not since 2007 has someone other than those two claimed the top prize.

Neymar, Luis Suarez, Harry Kane and Robert Lewandowski have been confirmed among the names on the 30-man shortlist for the 2017 Ballon d'Or, but Cristiano Ronaldo will be the favorite to retain the crown.

As Ronaldo struggled to look for his first league goal this season after serving a five-match suspension at the start, Messi has tallied 11 goals so far in the campaign.

But both players remain in danger of missing the 2018 World Cup. The Argentine topped the winning list with five times.

The Portugal superstar lifted his fourth Ballon d'Or previous year and another win would bring him level with Barcelona legend Messi.

European champions Portugal could be forced to negotiate next month's playoffs unless they defeat Group B leaders Switzerland in their final qualifier on Tuesday.

Paris Saint-Germain's world-record summer signing Neymar was also included in the first batch of names, along with Juventus attacker Paulo Dybala and Real Madrid stars Luka Modric and Marcelo.

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