Neymar, Luis Suarez, Harry Kane and Robert Lewandowski have been confirmed among the names on the 30-man shortlist for the 2017 Ballon d’Or, but Cristiano Ronaldo will be the favourite to retain the crown.
Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil forward Neymar was one of the first five names that award organisers France Football revealed from the shortlist, along with Real Madrid duo Luka Modric and Marcelo, Juventus forward Paulo Dybala and Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante.
Barca and Uruguay striker Suarez, Madrid defender Sergio Ramos, Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho, Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak and Napoli forward Dries Mertens were named in the second phase of the announcement, followed by Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, Tottenham’s Kane, Bayern Munich’s Lewandowski, Manchester United’s David De Gea and Roma’s Edin Dzeko.
Neymar, who left Barcelona to join PSG this summer in a world-record move, came third in the voting in 2015 and was fifth last year, while Suarez has yet to make it into the final three-man selection.
Madrid star Ronaldo, who beat Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann to the award last year, is expected to be announced among the nominees later on Monday after helping Madrid to a third Champions League crown in four seasons and a first La Liga title in five years, as well as the FIFA Club World Cup.
Ronaldo scored twice as Madrid beat Juventus 4-1 in the Champions League final, while also finishing top scorer in the competition with 12 goals.
Ronaldo is set to face competition competition from long-time rival Lionel Messi, who finished up as La Liga’s top scorer with 37 goals — 12 ahead of Ronaldo — and helped Barcelona to Copa del Rey success in what was a largely disappointing season for the club.