Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho has been named among the first 10 nominees for the Ballon d’Or 2017, France Football has revealed.
The prestigious award, which was aligned with FIFA from 2010 to 2015, has been won by either Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi for the past nine years.
Ronaldo picked up his fourth Ballon d’Or last year to move one behind Messi, and the Portugal and Real Madrid forward is odds-on favourite to make it five this time around.
France Football has opted to stagger out the nominees throughout Monday, with Liverpool’s Coutinho among the first 10 players to be announced.
Chelsea and France midfielder N’Golo Kate has also been nominated for the award, which is handed to the world’s top performing men’s player.
Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar, Real Madrid trio Sergio Ramos, Marcelo and Luka Modric, and Barcelona striker Luis Suarez have also made the shortlist of 30.
The Ballon d’Or is judged solely by a panel of journalists after FIFA and France Football ended their partnership in 2015.
In September, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar were nominated as finalists for the Best FIFA Men’s Player award.
Ballon d’Or 2017 shortlist so far
.Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)
.Paulo Dybala (Juventus)
.N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
.Marcelo (Real Madrid)
.Dries Mertens (Napoli)
.Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
.Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid)
.Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
.Luis Suarez (Barcelona)