Hugo Lloris has been nominated for Ballon d'Or 2019


France Football have officially unveiled their 30-man shortlist for the 2019 Ballon d'Or. 

A year ago, Luka Modric became the first player in more than a decade to break Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi's duopoly. 

The latter pair remain among the heavy favourites for football's top individual prize, but they now have Virgil van Dijk to contend with too. 

Liverpool's Dutch centre-half is a strong candidate to become the first defender to scoop the accolade since World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.

Franz Beckenbauer and Matthias Sammer are the only other defenders in history to buck a trend which has always seemed to favour goal-scorers.

It would be a fitting reward for the way Van Dijk has transformed Liverpool's defence, helping them to their sixth European title in June.

And the club's first league title in three decades could be just around the corner. 

However, there are always a few names in the mix that raise eyebrows - not least Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. 

The Frenchman led his country to World Cup glory in the summer, albeit making an almost unforgivable howler in the final against Croatia. 

Since then, he has made a string of errors in the early part of the season for Spurs. 

One of them, his most recent against Brighton, is the reason he is now sidelined, having fallen awkwardly and dislocated his elbow after falling into his own net against Brighton.

Who's the favourite? 

While Van Dijk is being tipped, would be *all that* surprised if Messi were to be recognised for a record sixth time.

Last month, he pipped Van Dijk to FIFA World Player of the Year at the Best FIFA Football Awards in Milan. 

SD Eibar SAD v FC Barcelona  - La Liga

The Argentine won the league with Barcelona and although the Blaugrana came up short in the Champions League - which all in all meant their 2018/19 season was a disappointing one in some regards - his individual prowess remains second to none. 

So far in the current calendar year, the 32-year-old has scored 32 goals in all competitions for his club, on top of a further three for the Albiceleste.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, continues to defy belief on the international stage, recently scoring his 700th career goal during Portugal's win over Ukraine. 

Dušan Tadić and Frenkie De Jong have been rewarded for helping Ajax to the Champions League semi-finals. 

Here's what we know so far about the list of nominees: 

Sadio Mané (Liverpool) 
Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) 
Frenkie De Jong (Barcelona) 
Hugo Lloris (Tottenham) 
Dušan Tadić (Ajax)
Kylian Mbappé (PSG)
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) 
Donny van de Beek (Ajax)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) 
Marc-André ter Stegen (Barcelona) 
Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) 
Alisson (Liverpool) 
Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus) 
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) 
Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool) 

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