Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale are among the first 10 players to be shortlisted by France Football magazine for the 2018 Ballon d’Or.
Ronaldo makes the list despite facing an allegation of rape by a woman he met in Las Vegas in 2009. He denies the accusation.
The Portuguese forward – who won his fifth Ballon d’Or in 2017 – is joined on the shortlist by his former Real Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale.
The Welshman was among the first batch of nominees announced on Monday morning.
The names are released in groups of five throughout Monday, with a 30-man shortlist eventually being drawn up ahead of the awards ceremony in Paris on December 3.
Ronaldo was among the second group of nominees, and is joined by Thibaut Courtois, Kevin De Bruyne, Roberto Firmino and Diego Godin.
The Ballon d’Or is separate from FIFA’s own world player of the year awards, known as The Best, which was won by Real Madrid’s Croatian midfielder Luka Modric.
The shortlist is curated by the editorial office of France Football, and the winner is then picked from the list by a panel of international journalists, with one representative per country.
The Ballon d’Or is awarded according to three separate criteria. The panel judge nominees on: their performances during the calendar year, their talent and fair play, and their achievements throughout their career.
Each panel member picks their top five nominees, with their first pick being awarded six points, their second pick receiving four points, their third three points, their fourth two points and their final pick one point.
The player with the most points received once all panel members have cast their votes is awarded the Ballon d’Or. In the event of a tie, the player with the most first picks is given the award.
2018 Ballon d’Or nominees
|Sergio Aguero||Manchester City & Argentina|
|Alisson||Liverpool & Brazil|
|Gareth Bale||Real Madrid & Wales|
|Karim Benzema||Real Madrid|
|Edinson Cavani||PSG & Uruguay|
|Thibaut Courtois||Real Madrid & Belgium|
|Cristiano Ronaldo||Juventus & Portugal|
|Kevin De Bruyne||Manchester City & Belgium|
|Roberto Firmino||Liverpool & Brazil|
|Diego Godin||Atletico Madrid & Uruguay|