Arguably football’s most prestigious awards ceremony, the Ballon d’Or, takes place in Paris – home of world champions France – on 3 December. Six of the French squad who won this year’s World Cup are included on the 30-man shortlist, alongside compatriot Karim Benzema – who was not in the national squad.
Where and when: Paris – 3 December 2018
Where you can see Ballon d’Or 2018: William Hill, Sky Sports
Last time: Cristiano Ronaldo won last year’s crown – his second in a row and fifth overall, tying him with Lionel Messi. The Portugal star has since left Real Madrid for Juventus with both record-breaking forwards once again on this year’s shortlist.
Ballon d’Or 2018 Predictions and Preview
The 30-man shortlist was decided upon by the editorial office of France Football magazine, and the winner will be selected by a panel of international journalists, with one representative from each country.
The player who gets the most points – awarded based on their performances during the calendar year, their talent and fair play, and their achievements throughout their career – in the vote is awarded the Ballon d’Or.
Real Madrid midfielder and Croatia international Luka Modric is the odds-on favourite to win this year’s award and bring the decade-long monopoly of the award between Ronaldo and Messi come to an end.
Modric – who was instrumental in Madrid’s third straight Champions League title and leading Croatia to their first ever World Cup final – is priced at best odds of 2/5 to add to his FIFA The Best award won this year.
Many people feel that the winner of the award should go to a player who actually won the World Cup, with Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann (who also won the Europa League and UEFA Super Cup) second-favourite at 11/2.
Of the other World Cup winners, Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane – the only player to win both in Russia and lift the Champions League – can be found at 16/1 while Kylian Mbappe is being priced as far as 20/1 by some bookmakers, both offering excellent value in an each-way bet at least.
There are a number of long-shots for the award who have enjoyed excellent years but may fall short in the overall voting.