Aguero nominated for Ballon d'Or

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Modric won the 2018 Federation Internationale de Football Association men's award last month, while the women's award went to Brazil forward Marta, another Women's Ballon d'Or award nominee. There is, however, a strong feeling that a new name will break the duopoly this year.

Ronaldo has been made second-favourite, with 5-2 odds while Messi has not been fancied much this year despite another brilliant season with Barcelona - with odds as long as 12-1.

Ronaldo's nomination comes after the 33-year-old last week denied rape allegations levelled against him by a woman who sued him in court in the United States.

Sportswear maker Nike Inc (NKE.N) and video game maker Electronic Arts Inc (EA.O), who both have worked with the five-time Champions League victor, said last Thursday they were concerned about the allegations.

Wales global Gareth Bale, scorer of a brace in Real's European final win over Liverpool, is among the 10 names already released.

The Croatian had a stellar year, leading his country to an unlikely World Cup final while also winning a third-consecutive Champions League title.

De Bruyne was nominated for helping City win the Premier League and Belgium reach the World Cup semi-finals. He also helped Paris St Germain to a domestic treble last season.

Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann, two key members of the France national team that sailed to their second-ever World Cup trophy are also likely to finish with high tallies, as are Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne, members of Belgium's star-studded side that came third at Russian Federation 2018.

After joining the Reds in the summer transfer window in 2017 from Roma, Salah scored over 40 goals for Liverpool in a debut season at Anfield.

Other top players nominated for the award are, Neymar, Gareth Bale, Eden Hazard, Luka Modric and Harry Kane.