Ballon d'Or nominees: Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Kane and Gareth Bale shortlisted

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Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Kane are among the first 15 players to be shortlisted by France Football magazine for the 2018 Ballon d'Or.

Ronaldo makes the list despite facing an allegation of rape by a woman he met in Las Vegas in 2009. He denies the accusation.



The Portuguese forward - who won his fifth Ballon d'Or in 2017 - is joined on the shortlist by Kane and former Real Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale.

Tottenham Hotspur striker Kane was among the third batch of nominees announced on Monday, along with Chelsea duo Eden Hazard and N'Golo Kante.

Harry Kane is the first English player to make the 2018 Ballon d'Or shortlist

The names are released in groups of five throughout the day, with a 30-man shortlist eventually being drawn up ahead of the awards ceremony in Paris on December 3.

The other two players third group of nominees were Antoine Griezmann and Isco.

The Ballon d'Or is separate from FIFA's own world player of the year awards, known as The Best, which was won by Real Madrid's Croatian midfielder Luka Modric.

The shortlist is curated by the editorial office of France Football, and the winner is then picked from the list by a panel of international journalists, with one representative per country.

Gareth Bale was one of the first nominees for the 2018 Ballon d'Or

The Ballon d'Or is awarded according to three separate criteria. The panel judge nominees on: their performances during the calendar year, their talent and fair play, and their achievements throughout their career.

Each panel member picks their top five nominees, with their first pick being awarded six points, their second pick receiving four points, their third three points, their fourth two points and their final pick one point.

The player with the most points received once all panel members have cast their votes is awarded the Ballon d'Or. In the event of a tie, the player with the most first picks is given the award.

2018 Ballon d'Or nominees

Sergio Aguero   Manchester City & Argentina

Alisson                                 Liverpool & Brazil

Gareth Bale                         Real Madrid & Wales

Karim Benzema Real Madrid

Edinson Cavani PSG & Uruguay

Thibaut Courtois Real Madrid & Belgium

Cristiano Ronaldo            Juventus & Portugal

Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City & Belgium

Roberto Firmino Liverpool & Brazil

Diego Godin Atletico Madrid & Uruguay

Antoine Griezmann Atletico Madrid & France

Eden Hazard Chelsea & Belgium

Isco Real Madrid & Spain

Harry Kane Tottenham Hotspur & England

N'Golo Kante Chelsea & France