De Bruyne, Bale nominated

Gareth Bale

Real Madrid and Wales forward Gareth Bale and Manchester City’s Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne were among the nominees for the Ballon d’Or award announced on Monday.

Bale, who scored two goals in Real’s triumph in the final of the Champions League against Liverpool, joins his club team-mate Karim Benzema among the 30 nominees for the year’s best player.

De Bruyne was nominated for helping his club win the Premier League and his country reach the World Cup semifinals. The winner of the prestigious award organised by France Football magazine will be announced on December 3.

Having lost out in the FIFA best player of the year award to Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo takes his place among the 30 nominees for the Ballon d’Or that were unveiled in stages throughout Monday.

The Juventus forward, currently facing allegations of rape dating back to 2009 that he strenuously denies, has already won the Ballon d’Or five times and is the current holder of the award.

Antoine Griezmann, a World Cup winner with France and Europa League champion at Atletico Madrid, is nominated alongside international team-mate and Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante.

Eden Hazard gives Chelsea another player in the running after starring alongside De Bruyne at the World Cup, with England’s Golden Boot winner Harry Kane also included.

Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero is nominated as is another prolific South American striker, Edinson Cavani of Paris Saint-Germain.

Two goalkeepers are also among the first 15 -- Thibaut Courtois of Belgium and Real Madrid and Liverpool and Brazil stopper Alisson Becker.

Real Madrid midfielder Isco, Liverpool’s Brazilian Roberto Firmino and Uruguay’s rugged defender Diego Godin of Atletico Madrid also got the nod.

In another first, the best under-21 player will receive the Kopa Trophy. Kylian Mbappe, the Paris Saint-Germain striker who burst onto the global scene with his performances as France won the World Cup, is the favourite.

For the first time, a Ballon d’Or for women players will be awarded this year.

Nominees: men: Sergio Aguero, Alisson Becker, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Edinson Cavani, Thibaut Courtois, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kevin De Bruyne, Roberto Firmino, Diego Godin, Antoine Griezmann, Eden Hazard, Isco, Harry Kane, N’Golo Kante, Hugo Lloris, Mario Mandzukic, Sadio Mane, Marcelo, Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, Luka Modric, Neymar, Jan Oblak, Paul Pogba, Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Ramos, Mohamed Salah, Luis Suarez, Raphael Varane.

Women’s (15): Amandine Henry, Amel Majri, Wendie Renard, Dzsenifer Marozsan, Lucy Bronze, Ada Hegerberg, Saki Kumagai, Marta, Pernille Harder, Lindsey Horan, Fran Kirby, Sam Kerr, Lieke Martens, Megan Rapinoe, Christine Sinclair.

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De Bruyne, Bale nominated

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