Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi might finally see their decade-long dominance of the Ballon d'Or award come to an end in 2018, with Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Luka Modric, Raphael Varane and Mohamed Salah all vying for the title of best player in the world.
Champions League winner and World Cup finalist Modric has already claimed the Best FIFA Men's Player award this year, becoming the first player other than Ronaldo or Messi to win FIFA's top individual prize - in any of its various guises - since Kaka in 2007.
And now the Ronaldo/Messi duopoly on the Ballon d'Or is also under serious pressure. Again, Kaka in 2007 remains the last player other than those two to win.
The methodology sees points awarded to players for various achievements over the last 12 months - four points for a World Cup win, for example, three points for winning the Champions League, three points for winning a domestic league, etc.
Messi is given six points (three for winning La Liga, two for winning the Copa del Rey and one for one Man of the Match performance at the World Cup). Ronaldo may have won the Champions League again but a lack of domestic success appears to have cost him.
At the top of the table, Mbappe's tally of 12 points comes from a World Cup win, three domestic trophies with Paris Saint-Germain and two Man of the Match awards at the World Cup.
Griezmann got nine for winning the World Cup, winning the Europa League and giving three Man of the Match performances at the World Cup, while Modric got eight points for winning the Champions League, finishing second at the World Cup and three World Cup Man of the Match awards.
In this system Mario Mandzukic is a surprise contender on seven points for his efforts with Croatia at international level and Juventus at club level. Ivan Rakitic, Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez and Raphael Varane are the others assigned seven points for their achievements.
France legend Michel Platini recently pointed out that Varane is the only player in 2018 who won both the Champions League and World Cup, and claimed the centre-back therefore deserves to be the first defender to win the Ballon d'Or since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.
The real winner of the award, presided over by France Football magazine, will be announced in Paris on Monday 3rd December.
|Kylian Mbappe||Paris Saint-Germain/France||12|
|Antoine Griezmann||Atletico Madrid/France||9|
|Luka Modric||Real Madrid/Croatia||8|
|Edinson Cavani||Paris Saint-Germain/Uruguay||7|
|Raphael Varane||Real Madrid/France||7|