Mbappe Joins Messi and Ronaldo on Ballon d'Or Shortlist

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The first five names for the Ballon d'Or have been released on Monday morning.

The Ballon d'Or is run by France Football, after confirmation this year Fifa had broken away from the award.

The 33-year-old forward, who ended his nine-season stay at Real Madrid by moving to Juventus for £99million in the summer, is a five-time victor of the award.

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Bale, who scored two goals in Real's triumph in the final of the Champions League against Liverpool including a spectacular overhead kick, is joined by club teammates Karim Benzema, Raphael Varane, Isco, Marcelo and Sergio Ramos.

Antoine Griezmann is one of the great favorites to take the prize due to his triumphs in the Europe League, the UEFA Super Cup title and, above all, the World Cup in Russian Federation, where he was one of the most outstanding players.

Chelsea and Belgium star Hazard is included after impressing for club and country throughout the past year, while Griezmann, a Europa League and World Cup victor with Atletico Madrid and France respectively, is one of the favourites for the award.

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Four other Premier League players have been named - Manchester City's Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne and Alisson and Roberto Firmino of Liverpool.

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

The Ballon d'Or is considered the most coveted personal accolade a player can achieve and this year's awards ceremony will take place in Paris on December 3. 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.

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In another first, the best under-21 player will receive the Kopa Trophy. The two Ballon d'Or Awards will be decided by an worldwide jury of journalists, with AS editor Alfredo Relaño again casting Spain's vote this year.

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