Lionel Messi, Barcelona
21 December 2018
There will soon be a time when Messi and Ronaldo aren't the best players in the world, but 2018 hasn't been it. The victim of boredom in Ballon d'Or voting remains the finest footballer on the planet
Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus
21 December 2018
Had it not been for Luka Modric steering Croatia to a World Cup final, CR7 would surely have taken his sixth Ballon d'Or title. He turns 34 in February – not that it seems to make a blind bit of difference... 
Kylian Mbappe, PSG
21 December 2018
To call him the world's most exciting young player is almost reductive. Mbappe has already influenced the biggest games on the biggest stage of all – and only just left his teenage years behind
Luka Modric, Real Madrid
21 December 2018
There's a sense his Ballon d'Or win may have been a concerted effort to end the Messi-Ronaldo duopoly, but this has been another stunning year from one of football's classiest operators
Antoine Griezmann, Atletico Madrid
21 December 2018
He was man of the match in Europa League and World Cup finals, and refuses to hide his disappointment at the lack of Ballon d'Or recognition. Better win that Champions League in 2019, then...
Mo Salah, Liverpool
21 December 2018
The all-time record for goals in a Premier League season; a starring role as Liverpool reached the Champions League final. In 2018, Salah has been the man with the Midas touch
Eden Hazard, Chelsea
21 December 2018
The second-best player of the World Cup has shone for Chelsea regardless of his team's form, and is thriving with the shackles off under Maurizio Sarri. And those Real Madrid links won't go away....
Neymar, PSG
21 December 2018
The Brazilian missed the last three months of 2017/18 before proving powerless to avoid a disappointing World Cup exit with Brazil. It hasn't been a year to remember for Neymar – but if anyone can turn it around in 2019, it's him
Jan Oblak, Atletico Madrid
21 December 2018
Best goalkeeper in the world? We think so. The Slovenian is La Liga's dominant shot-stopper; a pillar of reliability season upon season for the world's meanest team
Harry Kane
21 December 2018
Bettering his Premier League goal tally for the fourth season running prefaced a Golden Boot-winning World Cup where England reached the semi-finals. Another year, greater heights for the Spurs talisman

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