Hazard, Griezmann make list of Ballon d'Or nominees

Cristiano Ronaldo (AP)
Cristiano Ronaldo (AP)

Paris - Chelsea and Belgium attacker Eden Hazard and World Cup winner Antoine Griezmann were among the first 15 nominees for the Ballon d'Or award announced on Monday.

Hazard was named as a nominee after starring at this year's Russia World Cup where he inspired Belgium to a third-place finish.

Griezmann made the short-list for the tournament's Golden Ball award after France were crowned World Champions for the second time in its history.

Golden Boot winner and England striker Harry Kane, Spain's Isco and fellow World Cup winner N'Golo Kanté complete the 15-man list.

The winner of the prestigious award organised by France Football magazine will be announced on December 3.

Having lost out in the FIFA best player of the year award to Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo takes his place among the 30 nominees for the Ballon d'Or that were being unveiled in stages throughout Monday.

The Juventus forward, currently facing allegations of rape dating back to 2009 that he strenuously denies, has already won the Ballon d'Or five times and is the current holder of the award.

Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero is nominated as is another prolific South American striker, Edinson Cavani of Uruguay and Paris Saint-Germain.

Two goalkeepers are also among the first 10 - Thibaut Courtois of Belgium and Real Madrid and Liverpool and Brazil stopper Alisson Becker.

Liverpool's Brazilian Roberto Firmino is also nominated and Uruguay's rugged defender Diego Godin of Atletico Madrid also got the nod.

For the first time, a Ballon d'Or for women players will be awarded this year, with the nominees to be announced later on Monday.

In another first, the best Under-21 player will receive the Kopa Trophy. Kylian Mbappe, the Paris Saint-Germain striker who burst onto the global scene with his performances as France won the World Cup, is the favourite.

The Ballon d'Or, which was first won by Englishman Stanley Matthews in 1956, is decided by a ballot of journalists from around the world.

First 15 nominees (of 30) for Ballon d'Or:

Sergio Aguero

Alisson Becker 

Gareth Bale 

Karim Benzema 

Edinson Cavani

Thibaut Courtois

Cristiano Ronaldo

Kevin De Bruyne

Roberto Firmino 

Diego Godin

Antoine Griezmann

Eden Hazard

Isco

Harry Kane

N'Golo Kanté

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