Ballon d’Or: Bonucci on short-list

Leonardo Bonucci and Gigi Buffon are the only Italian nominees for the Ballon d’Or, along with Dries Mertens, Edin Dzeko and Paulo Dybala.

France Football staggered the release of the full 30-man short-list, but completed it this evening.

There are two Azzurri figures included, specifically Juventus captain Buffon and his former teammate Bonucci.

The centre-back completed a surprise €42m move to Serie A rivals Milan over the summer and has so far struggled to replicate that form.

There’s rarely a year when Juventus and Italy captain Buffon isn’t in the running, especially after he was named Champions League goalkeeper of the year for 2016-17.

The shot-stopper turns 40 in January and is widely expected to retire after the 2018 World Cup.

There are another three Serie A stars confirmed on the shortlist: Paulo Dybala of Juventus, Napoli striker Dries Martens and Roma centre-forward Edin Dzeko.

Dzeko was Capocannoniere in the Italian top flight last year, with Mertens just behind, having been converted from a winger.

Dybala helped Juve to reach the Champions League Final and win the domestic double, and he’s started this season with 10 goals in seven Serie A games.

Ballon d’Or nominees: Neymar (PSG), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Marcelo (Real Madrid), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), David De Gea (Manchester United), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Edin Dzeko (Roma), Luis Suarez (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Radamel Falcao (Monaco), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund), Edinson Cavani (PSG), Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Leonardo Bonucci (Milan), Isco (Real Madrid), Kylian Mbappé (PSG)