Neymar & Luka Modric excluded from 30 man Ballon D’or shortlist as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk top nominations

                          PSG/Brazil star Neymar Jr. and last year’s Ballon D’or winner Luka Modric have been excluded from the 2019 Ballon D’or nominee list released Monday night with favorite Virgil Van Dijk competing against Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for the France Football organized award.
The Ballon d’Or has been awarded by the French magazine, France Football, since 1956 and sees their editorial staff put together the initial 30-man shortlist.
Modric beat Messi and Ronaldo to last year’s gong following his impressive run at the FIFA 2018 World Cup and Real Madrid’s Champions League win but his omission this year makes him the first player in history to miss out on nomination the following year after winning it. Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was included on the 30-strong shortlist, along with World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who have both won the Ballon d’Or a joint-record five times.
 Below are the nominated players for the 2019 Ballon D’or award.
Sadio Mane – Liverpool
Sergio Aguero – Manchester City 
Frenkie de Jong – Ajax/ Barcelona 
Hugo Lloris – Tottenham 
Dusan Tadic – Ajax
Kylian Mbappe – PSG
Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool
Donny van de Beek – Ajax
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Arsenal
Marc-Andre Ter-Stegen – Barcelona 
Cristiano Ronaldo – Juventus
Alisson – Liverpool
Matthijs de Ligt – Juventus
Karim Benzema – Real Madrid
Georginio Wijnaldum – Liverpool
Virgil van Dijk – Liverpool
Bernardo Silva – Manchester City
Heung-min Son – Tottenham Hotspur
Robert Lewandowski – Bayern Munich
Roberto Firmino – Liverpool
Lionel Messi – Argentina/Barcelona

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