Ballon d'Or 2018: Top 5 leaked award winners

Champions League all-time top scorers: Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski add to tallies | Daily Star

The 33-year-old has already lost two major awards to his former teammate Luka Modric earlier this year.

Modric has had a tremendous year for both club and country as he won the UEFA Champions League for a record third straight season with Real Madrid before going on to finish runners-up in the FIFA World Cup with Croatia.

The suggestion is that Ronaldo and Lionel Messi may not even make the top three as a result of ordinary World Cup campaigns.

Starting from 2008, can you name the players who finished highest each year if we exclude Messi and Ronaldo?

Few weeks after winning the Federation Internationale de Football Association best men's player prize for helping his national team reach their first ever World Cup final in Russia.

Paris Saint-Germain and World Cup star Kylian Mbappe may have risen through the ranks in recent years, but he still has ways to go before he establishes himself as one of the best in the game. I don't vote. I just hope it is a Frenchman.

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"Modric is an exceptional player".

Mbappe, who turns 20 later this month, seems a certain victor of that award, voted for by 33 living former Ballon d'Or winners.

With Modric emerging as the most likely victor, France coach Didier Deschamps was even asked this weekend if his country's World Cup triumph could be somehow devalued by the lack of a Ballon d'Or to go alongside it.

The Ballon d'Or remains the peak, but it will bring an end to the cycle.

Defenders are often overlooked when it comes to individual accolades, with Italy World Cup winning captain Fabio Cannavaro the last to win the Ballon d'Or in 2006. The 15 nominees include seven players from Lyon, the Champions League winners, and Brazil great Marta, who won the recent Federation Internationale de Football Association prize.

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