GOING FOR GOLD Ballon d’Or 2019: Ronaldo, Messi and Van Dijk on the longlist as 30 names are revealed
LIONEL MESSI, Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk are the headline names on this year's Ballon d'Or 30-man longlist.
France Football revealed the coveted list throughout this evening and it unsurprisingly features the world's best players, including seven Liverpool players after they won the Champions League.
Messi and Ronaldo are both aiming to break the record with a sixth Ballon d'Or crown.
The Argentine hero picked up France Football's award in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015 with Ronaldo victorious in 2008, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017.
In fact, Messi has finished second every time Ronaldo has won it.
But he was controversially fifth last year with Luka Modric coming out on top ahead of Ronaldo, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe.
But this year they face competition from Liverpool defender Van Dijk, who played a pivotal role in the Reds' Champions League glory.
Messi took home Fifa's The Best award in September with Van Dijk second and Ronaldo third.
He scored 54 goals in all competitions as his Barcelona side won La Liga while Ronaldo won Serie A at the first time of asking following his move to Juventus.
Then the ex-Real Madrid star followed it up by lifting the inaugural Nations League over the summer and this month scored his 700th career goal.
Portugal pipped Van Dijk's Netherlands in the final while Manchester City did just enough to win the Premier League by one point ahead of Liverpool.
Some of the other big names on this year's list include Mbappe, Eden Hazard and Antoine Griezmann.
And there is a strong Premier League presence with 15 of the 30 players currently plying their trade in England.
Seven of Jurgen Klopp's Champions League-winning side are in while the likes of Sergio Aguero, Heung-min Son and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also made the cut.
But there a few inclusions that some may see as a surprise with Karim Benzema and Hugo Lloris selected in the top 30 but Neymar, Harry Kane and N'Golo Kante were all overlooked.
The winner will be announced on December 2 in Paris, with Van Dijk the odds-on favourite.