Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo: Griezmann makes controversial Ballon d’Or verdict

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Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo: Griezmann makes controversial Ballon d’Or verdict

The Ballon d'Or, a prestigious award that was first presented in 1956, is given to the best player of the year.

Modric, a World Cup runner-up with Croatia, beat Juventus' Ronaldo and Salah to win the Federation Internationale de Football Association prize last month after Messi was surprisingly left off the final three-man list.

The honour, now separate from FIFA's own Best player of the year award, is bestowed annually by France Football magazine.

The award will be given on December.

The last player other than Ronaldo or Lionel Messi to win the award was Kaka in 2007, but in 2018, Real Madrid midfielder Modric, who took his team to the World Cup final in Moscow, as well as winning the Champions League, is set to break the duopoly.

Despite winning the Champions League with Real Madrid, Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo now sits in third place with just 5%.

The latest candidates, who are being revealed in alphabetical order, include Thibaut Courtois, 2017 victor Cristiano Ronaldo, Kevin De Bruyne, Roberto Firmino and Diego Godin.

Tottenham's Kane, 25, helped England reach the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russian Federation, while 29-year-old Bale scored twice for Real Madrid in the Champions League win over Liverpool.

Chelsea star N'Golo Kante, Spurs' goalie Hugo Lloris, Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba, Raphael Varane and Karim Benzema are the seven French players.

England only have one representative on the list in Harry Kane while Gareth Bale is also among the nominees.

Saul also defended Atletico coach Diego Simeone, who was booed by fans earlier this season.

France internationals Amandine Henry, Amel Majri and Wendie Renard are joined on the list by Germany's Dzsenifer Marozsan, England's Lucy Bronze, Ada Hegerberg of Norway and Japan defender Saki Kumagai.

What is the Ballon d'Or?

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