Bale, De Bruyne among first Ballon d'Or nominees

Bale, De Bruyne among first Ballon d'Or nominees

He is joined by the holder and five-time victor Ronaldo, who is included after facing an allegation of rape by a woman he met in Las Vegas in 2009, which the Juventus striker denies.

The 30 candidates for the annual prize, presented by France Football magazine, were revealed on Monday - with the Reds quartet confirmed among the nominees.

Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale is among the early nominees for the Men's Ballon d'Or award as France Football release their list of 30 at staggered intervals throughout the day.

Kane, the only English player to be named so far, is also up against Ronaldo's former Real Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale and Chelsea duo Eden Hazard and N'Golo Kante.

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Firmino is nominated despite Liverpool failing to win a trophy last term and Brazil reaching only the World Cup quarter-finals, while Godin gets the nod following Atletico Madrid's victories in the Europa League and UEFA Super Cup.

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker has been included in the list alongside Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero.

For the first time, a Ballon d'Or for women players will be awarded this year, with Champions League winners Lyon accounting for seven of the 15 nominees. Kylian Mbappe, the Paris Saint-Germain striker who burst onto the global scene with his performances as France won the World Cup, is the favourite.

Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who joined Juventus from Real Madrid in the summer, won last year's Ballon d'Or.

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