Cristiano Ronaldo has named the five players he expects to rival him for 2018 Ballon d'Or award

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Luka Modric ended Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s duopoly when he won FIFA’s The Best award in September.

It was the first time since Kaka in 2007 that a player not named Ronaldo or Messi claimed FIFA’s coveted individual prize.

Of course, their reign at the top of the game had to come to an end at some point but not many predicted that Modric would be the one to break the streak.

The playmaker has enjoyed a terrific year, winning the Champions League with Real Madrid and leading Croatia to the World Cup final.

And the bookmakers expect Modric to add to his collection by winning the 2018 Ballon d’Or award.

But, although he’s the favourite with the bookies, there are a number of other players to be considered.

The entire 30-man shortlist was revealed earlier this year, with Ronaldo’s name featured.

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Ronaldo's five rivals

The Juventus star is going in search of a sixth Ballon d’Or win but he expects the competition to be fierce.

And Ronaldo knows who his closest rivals are going to be.

In an interview with France Football, the former Real Madrid forward named Mohamed Salah, Luka Modric, Antoine Griezmann, Raphael Varane and Kylian Mbappe as the five players to look out four.

“The rivals? The same as usual, although I do not know if Messi will be on the podium this time,” Ronaldo said.

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“So let’s say Salah, Modric, Griezmann, Varane, Mbappe, and the French in general because they are world champions.”

So no Messi. That’s interesting.

The Barcelona star enjoyed a brilliant individual year, scoring the most goals and providing the most assists in the league as the Blaugrana won the La Liga title.

But Argentina’s disappointing showing at the World Cup, as well as Barcelona’s exit in the Champions League in the quarter-final, seems to have ended Messi’s hopes of winning a sixth Ballon d’Or.

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