Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric (4/7 – Ballon d’Or Winner) is the favourite to be the first man other than Cristiano Ronaldo (7/4) and Lionel Messi (14/1) to win the Ballon d’Or since 2007.
The ex-Tottenham star, who will be in the Croatia (7/4 -Match Betting) side that meets England (7/4, draw 11/5) in the Nations League on Friday, is the strong fancy to end more than a decade of dominance from world football’s biggest two names when the announcement is made in December.
Modric led Croatia – a country of just over four million people – to the World Cup final in Russia just a matter of weeks after helping Real Madrid lift their third successive Champions League title in Kiev.
Only Real team-mate Raphael Varane could undisputedly better that, having finished on the winning side in Moscow, but no defender has taken the award since Italian libero Fabio Cannavaro became only the third ever defensive recipient of the prestigious award in its 62-year history in 2006.
Ronaldo, who left Real to join Juventus in a blockbuster deal this summer, remains a contender despite not producing his best during the World Cup finals with Portugal.
It is now 10 years since he won the first of his five awards, marking the start of an unprecedented duopoly between himself and Barcelona superstar Messi, who also has five such honours on his glittering football CV.
Former AC Milan playmaker Kaka was the last man outside the duo to win the prize back in 2007 and Brazil’s best chance of getting their hands back on the trophy again appear to be with Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson, who was outstanding for Roma last season.
French teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe (14/1 – Ballon d’Or Winner) could be an interesting candidate after clinching his second successive nomination.
The ex-Monaco star, now plundering goals for Paris Saint-Germain, finished seventh in the voting last year.
Odds subject to change.