Messi? Ronaldo? Van Dijk? Men’s Ballon d’Or – contenders & vote for your winner

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Luka Modric won last year’s Men’s Ballon d’Or to end 10 years of Messi-Ronaldo domination
Ballon d’Or 2019
Venue: Theatre du Chatelet, Paris Date: 2 December
Coverage: Live text commentary on BBC Sport website and app from 19:30 GMT

It’s time to crown the best player in men’s football for 2019.

In a glittering ceremony in Paris on Monday, the winner of this year’s Men’s Ballon d’Or will be announced, with Liverpool defensive rock Virgil van Dijk the favourite to be the first defender to take the honour in 13 years.

The Premier League is heavily stocked, boasting 15 of the 30-man shortlist. But who is in contention?

Last year’s winner Luka Modric – the only winner in the past 11 years not named Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo – did not make the cut.

Both Messi and Ronaldo are very much in the running, having won it a joint-record five times each already.

Messi has already won the Best FIFA Men’s award in 2019, while Van Dijk was Uefa’s Men’s Player of the Year – victory for Ronaldo on Monday would see the three biggest prizes in men’s football going to three different players for the first time.

BBC Sport has a rundown of the contenders for this year’s Men’s Ballon d’Or…

Sergio Aguero

Club: Manchester City Nation: Argentina

Age: 31 Honours 2019: Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, Community Shield

The Argentina goal machine had another productive year in front of goal, netting 32 times for City as they won a domestic treble in 2018-19 and adding 13 more this season before picking up an injury. You do take those numbers for granted but has he done enough to be considered?

Approximate odds: 250-1

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Club: Liverpool Nation: England

Age: 21 Honours 2019: Champions League, Uefa Super Cup

A real breakthrough year for the full-back whose quick-thinking corner against Barcelona delivered one of the moments of 2019. A superb year but perhaps overshadowed by team-mates when it comes to the big honours.

Approximate odds: 1000-1

Alisson

Club: Liverpool Nation: Brazil

Age: 27 Honours 2019: Champions League, Copa America

A man who added the Copa America to his Champions League win for Liverpool – his stoppage-time save from Napoli’s Arkadiusz Milik in the final group game was key on the road to triumph in Madrid for Jurgen Klopp’s men.

Approximate odds: 100-1

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Club: Arsenal Nation: Gabon

Age: 30 Honours 2019: None

Scores goals, year on year. But with no trophies in the bank this year it’s hard to see the Arsenal man troubling the scorers on this occasion.

Approximate odds: 1000-1

Karim Benzema

Club: Real Madrid Nation: France

Age: 31 Honours 2019: None

Can you play up front for Real Madrid for a solid decade and still be underestimated? Maybe. Benzema is closing in on 250 goals for Real but if he was going to win the honour it would surely have come during one of his four Champions League-winning seasons.

Approximate odds: 1000-1

Kevin de Bruyne

Club: Manchester City Nation: Belgium

Age: 28 Honours 2019: Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, Community Shield

The Premier League’s most talented player? There’s a good argument for it. Won a domestic treble with City last season and makes the shortlist after returning from serious injury to shine throughout the calendar year.

Approximate odds: 150-1

Frenkie de Jong

Club: Barcelona Nation: Netherlands

Age: 22 Honours 2019: Eredivisie, KNVB Cup (Both with Ajax)

Earned a £65m move to Barca with his game-running performances from deep midfield for Ajax during their stunning run to the Champions League semis. If he keeps up his momentum, he could be a future winner.

Approximate odds: 250-1

Matthijs de Ligt

Club: Juventus Nation: Netherlands

Age: 20 Honours 2019: Eredivisie, KNVB Cup (Both with Ajax)

Like De Jong, was outstanding for Ajax and earned a big-money move to one of European football’s giants. Still only 20.

Approximate odds: 500-1

Roberto Firmino

Club: Liverpool Nation: Brazil

Age: 28 Honours 2019: Champions League, Uefa Super Cup, Copa America

All three of Liverpool’s attacking trident make the shortlist and while Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane may hog the headlines more often, Firmino is the one who makes the team tick. Won the Champions League and then his two goals helped Brazil to a Copa win as well.

Approximate odds: 250-1

Antoine Griezmann

Club: Barcelona Nation: France

Age: 28 Honours 2019: None

Completed his long-mooted move from Atletico Madrid to Barcelona this summer but maybe hasn’t found his best form yet at the Nou Camp.

Approximate odds: 250-1

Eden Hazard

Club: Real Madrid

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