Bale, De Bruyne among first Ballon d'Or nominees

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"Whether it's Grizou (Antoine Griezmann), Kylian (Mbappe) or Raph (Raphael Varane), they deserve it much more than me", Pogba told AFP.

The former won a domestic double with Barcelona while the latter picked up a Champions League winners medal for the third successive year with Los Blancos, before jumping ship to Juventus in the summer.

"I can't designate one [to win it]".

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Real Madrid and Wales forward Gareth Bale and Manchester City's Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne were among the first 15 nominees for the Ballon d'Or award announced on Monday.

Mbappe scored four times in 13 minutes on Sunday but also missed a number of chances, which does not surprise Griezmann.

His countryman Griezmann echoed Pogba's sentiment that the 2018 Ballon d'Or should be lifted by a France world champion.

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The individual honour, which is European football's oldest having been awarded every year since 1956, has been won by either Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi for the past 10 years - with each winning a record five. "I tease him often - I ask him how he manages to score so many goals".

In another first, the best under-21 player will receive the Kopa Trophy. Afterwards, there are votes, opinions, different judgements.

Back in May, Salah looked on course to be in contention for 2018's Ballon d'Or.

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The Manchester United midfielder was named on the 30-man shortlist for the award for the best player of the year, with the victor to be announced in Paris on December 3.

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