This year's Ballon d'Or ceremony will take place on December 3, and Real Madrid and Croatia captain Luka Modric is a strong favourite to break the hold so usually kept by perennial winners Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
For the first time in 10 years, a non-Messi or Ronaldo player is in strong contention to be honoured as the best player in world football.
But just how does the selection process for choosing a Ballon d'Or winner work and how does the voting procedure take place? Goal takes a look.
What is the selection process for the Ballon d'Or?
The initial shortlist consisting of 30 names in contention for the Ballon d'Or is assembled by the editorial team at France Football, a French weekly football publication that is one of the most respected publications within the game.
Following the compilation of the 30-man shortlist, a jury of journalists representing a variety of footballing nations is put together, and they will then be given the task of voting for the players they deem worthy of first, second and third place.
Who made the 30-man Ballon d'Or 2018 shortlist?
Real Madrid are the best-represented in this year's shortlist with eight players nominated (though Thibaut Courtois will be considered based on his performances at Chelsea), while Liverpool have four players in the running.
Luka Modric is a strong favourite to be named as winner of the Ballon d'Or this year following his success at the FIFA Best Awards, with the Croatia due to break the Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo duality for the first time in 10 years.
Men’s award nominees are as follows: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Alisson Becker (Liverpool), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Edinson Cavani (PSG), Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Isco (Real Madrid), Harry Kane (Tottenham), N’golo Kante (Chelsea), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Kylian Mbappe (PSG), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Neymar (PSG), Jan Oblak (Atlético Madrid), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Luis Suarez (Barcelona), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid).
What is the voting process for the Ballon d'Or?
After the jury has been selected, they will then choose their top five players from within the 30-man shortlist and then proceed to rank them based on descending order of merit.
The rules and regulations that the jury will need to follow to choose and rank their top five selections are below:
- Individual and collective performances (winners) during the year.
- Player class (talent and fair play).
- Overall judgment of the player's career.
The top-ranking player from each journalist's selection will receive six points, with the second-ranking player earning four points, then three, two and one going down from the rest of their top five picks.
How is a winner chosen for the Ballon d'Or?
After each jury member has selected their top five players for the Ballon d'Or award, the total points are calculated and added, and the player to receive the most number of points will be awarded the top honour.
In the event of a tie for first place, however, the players are determined by the number of times they are voted in first place. If the tie still stands, then the tie-breaker will consider the number of votes for second place, and then by the number of votes for third place.
If the tie continues, then a new ballot is organised to select a winner between the tied players.
If, after all of this, a winner is still unable to be named, then the France Football editorial director – as chairman of the jury – will be called upon to make an ultimate decision.