The Barcelona star has been expected to go head-to-head with his old foe and the new pretender once again for the right to be crowned best in the world
Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk are expected to be among the 30 nominees for the 2019 Ballon d’Or as they contest the crown of best soccer professional in the world.
Barcelona captain Messi has been in the hunt for his sixth Ballon d’Or, having last won the accolade in 2015, and will be hoping to add it to his collection having already scooped FIFA’s The Best award in September.
Juventus forward Ronaldo, whose last Ballon d’Or triumph came in 2017, could also potentially win the award for the sixth time, while Van Dijk, if he has been chosen, would become the first defender to win it since Paolo Cannavaro in 2006.
The nominees are being drip-fed by France Football on Monday night and the winner of the prestigious award has been set to be announced at a ceremony which will take place on December 2.
Footballers confirmed for the 2019 Ballon d’Or include Liverpool attacker Sadio Mane, Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero and Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Dusan Tadic also makes the cut for his part in Ajax’s Champions League run, as does Frenkie de Jong, who left the Dutch side for Barcelona in the summer.
The award, which has been independent of FIFA since 2016, takes into account the performances of a soccer professional for the calendar year rather than the previous season.
Real Madrid playmaker Luka Modric broke a decade-long duopoly between Messi and Ronaldo when he won the 2018 edition.
You can see all the confirmed nominees for the 2019 Ballon d’Or in the full list of contenders below: