Frenkie de Jong and Ajax captain Dusan Tadic are among the first five nominees for the Golden Ball. The French magazine France Football will announce the other 25 nominees for the prize of world footballer of the year later on Monday evening.
De Jong and Tadic are rewarded for their strong season at Ajax, with which they reached the semi-finals of the Champions League. Moreover, the national title and the cup were taken. De Jong earned a transfer to FC Barcelona.
Strikers Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) and Sadio Mané (Liverpool) and keeper Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur) are the other three players who are already certain of being nominated.
The contenders for the Golden Ball for women will also be announced later on Monday evening. That shortlist consists of twenty players. There are also ten nominations for the titles best player under 21 and best keeper.
Last year the men's Golden Ball went to Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric, who broke the hegemony of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Among the women was the prestigious prize for Ada Hegerberg from Olympique Lyon.
Price is independent of FIFA election
The Golden Ball election has been separate from the FIFA prize for world footballer of the year since 2016, which was awarded to FC Barcelona star player Messi in September. In previous years there was a combined election with FIFA.
In the FIFA election, Orange captain Virgil van Dijk was among the last three nominees. Juventus-star Cristiano Ronaldo completed the top three.
Provisional Golden Ball nominees: Sergio Agüero (Manchester City), Frenkie de Jong (FC Barcelona), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), Sadio Mané (Liverpool), Dusan Tadic (Ajax)