Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk are expected to be among the 30 nominees for the 2019 Ballon d’Or as they contest the crown of best player in the world.
Barcelona captain Messi is in the hunt for his sixth Ballon d’Or, having last won the accolade in 2015, and will be hoping to add it to his collection having already scooped FIFA’s The Best award in September.
Juventus forward Ronaldo, whose last Ballon d’Or triumph came in 2017, could also potentially win the award for the sixth time, while Van Dijk, if he is chosen, would become the first defender to win it since Paolo Cannavaro in 2006.
The nominees are being drip-fed by France Football on Monday night and the winner of the prestigious award is set to be announced at a ceremony which will take place on December 2.
Footballers confirmed for the 2019 Ballon d’Or include Liverpool attacker Sadio Mane, Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero and Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Dusan Tadic also makes the cut for his part in Ajax’s Champions League run, as does Frenkie de Jong, who left the Dutch side for Barcelona in the summer.
The award, which is independent of FIFA since 2016, takes into account the performances of a player for the calendar year rather than the previous season.
Real Madrid playmaker Luka Modric broke a decade-long duopoly between Messi and Ronaldo when he won the 2018 edition.