The prestigious award is handed out by France Football.

The 2022-23 European football season is finally upon us. All the major European leagues have already kicked off or are set to kickoff this weekend. The fans are excited about the new season and what it will bring to their club. The start of the new season also means the Ballon d’Or shortlist is set to be announced.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the football and Ballon d’Or stage for the past decade. Real Madrid‘s Luka Modrić is the only player to break the deadlock and lift the prestigious award in the Messi-Ronaldo era. Robert Lewandowski was the favourite to win the award for the 2020 season, but it was cancelled by France Football due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The majority of football fans still believe that the new Barcelona striker should be handed the award, but that is a debate for another day. France Football also hands out the Women’s Ballon d’Or, Kopa trophy and the Yachine trophy.

Real Madrid’s new club captain Karim Benzema is the clear favourite to win the Ballon d’Or 2022. The French striker lead his side to a La Liga and UEFA Champions League double last season. This season he has already helped his team lift the UEFA Super Cup. He also won the UEFA Nations League with France.

But, the rules and regulations for the winner have been changed this season. The award will now be based first on individual performance, then team performance and finally fair play. Benzema enjoyed a brilliant individual season too, recording 44 goals and 15 assists in 46 appearances across all competitions last term.

Here are the top 30 nominees for Ballon d’Or 2022 award:

Goalkeeper

Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)
Mike Maignan (AC Milan)

Defender

Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
Antonio Rüdiger (Real Madrid)
Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
João Cancelo (Manchester City)

Midfielder

Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig)
Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)
Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)
Casemiro (Real Madrid)
Fabinho (Liverpool)
Phil Foden (Manchester City)
Luka Modrić (Real Madrid)
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

Forward

Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Sadio Mane (Bayern Munich)
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
Rafael Leão (AC Milan)
Vinicius JR (Real Madrid)
Robert Lewandowski (FC Barcelona)
Luis Diaz (Liverpool)
Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)
Heung-Min Son (Spurs)
Harry Kane (Spurs)
Darwin Núñez (Liverpool)
Sébastien Haller (Dortmund)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
Dušan Vlahović (Juventus)
Erling Haaland (Manchester City)

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