PARIS: Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo has been named among 30 nominees for the men’s Ballon d’Or trophy awarded by France Football magazine to the best player in the world.
The Portugal captain has won the award for the past two years and five times in all, a record he shares with Argentina’s Lionel Messi who is also on the list announced on Monday.
Ronaldo’s nomination comes after the 33-year-old last week denied rape allegations levelled against him by a woman who sued him in court in the United States.
Sportswear maker Nike Inc and video game maker Electronic Arts Inc, who both have worked with the five-times Champions League winner, said last Thursday they were concerned about the allegations.
European champions Real Madrid dominate the nominees with eight players, including Croatia midfielder Luka Modric and Wales forward Gareth Bale.
Modric won the Golden Ball as the best player at this year’s World Cup in Russia, where Croatia finished runners-up, and last month claimed FIFA’s The Best men’s player award.
Bale scored twice in the Champions League final win over Liverpool.
France World Cup winners Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, Raphael Varane, one of the Real Madrid contingent, and captain Hugo Lloris have also been nominated.
A panel of journalists select the winner of the Ballon d’Or, which was first established in 1956 and will this year feature a women’s award for the first time, to be decided from a shortlist of 15 players.
The award merged with FIFA’s World Player of the Year prize from 2010-15 to create the FIFA Ballon d’Or, but returned to France Football in 2016 while FIFA established The Best awards.
The winners of the prestigious men’s and women’s awards will be announced at a ceremony in Paris on Dec 3.