The Ballon d’Or is awarded to the best player applying his trade in Europe, but is often considered the ultimate prize on a personal level for any footballer — and this year’s ceremony takes place in Paris on Thursday.
There are seven Premier League players in contention to win the award including Harry Kane, Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne while Neymar, the PSG superstar, will also want to celebrate individual success.
Follow all the build-up and the glitzy bash as it unfolds here with Sportsmail.
Film night for the Suarez family instead of an evening in Paris.
Now he’s fallen out of the top 10. No wonder Luis Suarez opted to skip the evening.
Also it’s good to know that Kaka is still yet to reach 20.
If Kevn De Bruyne continues his current form he’ll surely be in the top 10 next year.
No, not Messi, it’s Paulo Dybala.
At 16 is arguably the world’s best left-back – a title I have always thought of as being damning with faint praise – Marcelo. There are still four more Real players to come, including the favourite for the top prize.
The Real Madrid midfielder helped the club earn back-to-back Champions League titles and their first La Liga crown in five years back in May.
Antoine Griezmann follow team-mate Oblak after a 2016-17 season season where he netted 26 goals.
We’re inside the top 20 and it’s Chelsea Eden Hazard.
A panel of former goalkeeping greats in a poll for France Football magazine may have had him as only the world’s seventh best keeper but the same publication’s biggest prize sees David De Gea named in the top 20.
And there are two Liverpool men in the 30-20 rundown.
29: Dries Mertens and Philippe Coutinho
28: Edin Dzeko
27: Mats Hummels
26: Jan Oblak
25: Karim Benzema
24: Radamel Falcao
23: Sadio Mane
21: Leonardo Bonucci and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
The couple have been adjusting to life with a new-born baby following the arrival of their daughter, Alana Martina, less than a month ago.
She shared a snap on her own Instagram aboard the flight to Paris.
‘Ready for another trip to Paris’ she writes. No sign as to if she knows her son will be definitely be winning, however.
Lionel Messi has announced a partnership on his Instagram with one of the most underwhelming adverts you could see!
Sat in a plain, dark room with a laptop, Messi writes as a caption: ‘Excited about blockchain and happy to join @SirinLabs as a partner’.
Worlds away from Ronaldo cruising through the sky to Paris…
So far in the calendar year, Messi has outscored Ronaldo by three goals, 52-49. That is partly down to Ronaldo’s form of late which has not reached the electrifying level that has seen him win four Ballon d’Or titles to date. Messi has 52 in 61, Ronaldo 49 in 56.
It is, however, worth remembering that Ronaldo’s performances have contributed to a Champions League and La Liga triumph. Messi’s only silverware came in the shape of the 2017 Copa del Rey.
Not to be sniffed at, of course, but not comparable to the other two.
Earlier this week, pictures broke out across social media of the ‘Quinto Triunfo’ Nike Mercurial boots. Quinto Triunfo, in English, translates as ‘fifth triumph’ and alongside the silver and gold boots were the years Ronaldo has won the award – 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2016 – and included 2017.
You can see for yourself below.
Should Ronaldo, as expected, be crowned winner today it will complete a 10-year cycle of dominance between himself and Lionel Messi in winning the award. But before those two entered the football stratosphere, who were the players who competed to be named football’s top player?
Sportsmail has reflected on who won the award, and how, before those two emerged. You can read it by clicking on the headline above.
The Portugal star is heading to France for the ceremony in Paris and he is favourite to win the prestigious award for the fifth time in his career. After helping Real Madrid become the first club side to successfully defend the Champions League and also taking the La Liga title, it is easy to see why.
Earlier today, he shared a picture on his Instagram climbing aboard a plane with ‘CR7’ and his goal celebration emblazoned across it.
Ronaldo climbing aboard his plane before flying to Paris
Good afternoon and welcome to Sportsmail’s coverage of this highly-anticipated Ballon d’Or bash, which kicks of tonight.
There’s plenty of pre-event build-up to keep you ticking over so stick with us and we’ll do our best!