Real Madrid stalwarts Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero were nominated for the coveted 2016 Ballon d’Or football award, a French sports magazine France Football announced on Monday.
The magazine said that Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre Emerik Aubameyang and long-serving Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon of Juventus were also nominated, reports Efe.
The names of the rest of the 30 hopefuls were scheduled to be announced later.
Having broken ties with the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), the guidelines of the 2016 edition of the Ballon d’Or have been simplified.
The voting board for 2016 is to comprise only of international journalists, thus scrapping the delegations of international football team coaches and captains.
The date of the award ceremony for the 61st edition of the Ballon d’Or is yet to be officially announced.
In the last seven years, six of which were in partnership with FIFA, the Ballon d’Or podium has been dominated by Ronaldo (2013, ’14) and FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (2009, ’10, ’11, ’12, ’15).
There is a high chance that in 2016 the award will remain in the hands of one of these La Liga top-flight players.