FC Barcelona v Athletic Club - La Liga
BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 17: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona holds up the FIFA Ballon d'Or trophy prior to the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Athletic Club de Bilbao at Camp Nou on January 17, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Sergio Aguero and Gareth Bale are among the first names selected for this year’s men’s Ballon d’Or award

Bale is joined by fellow Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema in the shortlist, while Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker is also among the first five names.

Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani made the cut after playing a starring role for both club and country last season.

French magazine France Football will announce a shortlist of 30 names for this year’s Ballon d’Or award throughout the day.

Real Madrid CF v RC Celta de Vigo - La Liga

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The Ballon d’Or is a prestigious individual award that was first presented to Sir Stanley Matthews in 1956 and has since been awarded to the best player of the year ever since.

Five-time winners Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have dominated the prize for the past decade, although Luka Modric is considered the strong favourite for this year’s Ballon d’Or after claiming the FIFA and UEFA Player of the Year awards.

But, as France Football releases the names in alphabetical order, there will be no spot for PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon or Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.