There may be a surprise winner in the 2018 edition of the Ballon d’Or Awards with reports suggesting Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are conspicuously missing from the list of the final top three.
This signifies there may be a new winner of the coveted award for the first time since 2007.
The likes of Real Madrid playmaker Luka Modric and Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann are the frontrunners for the award ahead of the ceremony on December 3.
French journalist Eric Mamruth “leaked” the current top three based on the votes collated so far on Twitter earlier this week – and the results are interesting.
The tweet’s translation in English is, “Exclusive #BallondOr: After counting half the votes, the head trio is as follows: 1) Modric 2) @raphaelvarane 3 @KMbappe. @xbarretfoot @RFIRadioFoot Info @RFIsports.”
Leading the way is reportedly Croatia skipper Luka Modric, who led his country to the World Cup final and also won another Champions League with Real Madrid.
Modric also emerged victorious at the Best FIFA Football Awards in September and will be looking to add the Ballon d’Or to his collection.
Interestingly, in second place is his Madrid team-mate Raphael Varane.
The defender was excellent for club and country last season as France went on to pip Croatia in the World Cup final.
The duo is joined in the top three by PSG sensation Kylian Mbappe.
He has continued where he left off the last term with the Ligue 1 leaders and already has 13 goals to his name in all competitions.
It remains to be seen if the current standings will remain this way but the bookmakers have Modric as the overwhelming favourite.
He is placed ahead of Ronaldo and Griezmann, while Mbappe and Messi make the top five.
Mohamed Salah, who was the best player in the Premier League last season, is an outsider for the award.