Atlético Madrid won the Europa League last season and pushed Barcelona, albeit very gently, in the league. Antoine Griezmann and Diego Godín, however, went on to excel in Russia during the summer, with the former winning it all with France and Godín leading Uruguay to an unlikely quarter-final — where his side lost to Griezmann’s France.
And for their exploits last season, the Atlético pair have been nominated for the Ballon d’Or. Griezmann is keen to win it, too. This year, for the first time in almost a decade, it is not a foregone conclusion that either Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi will win it.
“I think the Ballon d’Or has more prestige, more history,” Griezmann said recently. “I have it in the back of my head. I have three months to give everything, and then we’ll see what happens.”
“He was the best player in the world for me last year,” Simeone said.
Griezmann is aiming to become the first Atlético player ever to win the award. The 27-year-old finished third in 2016, and Paulo Futre finished second in 1987 to eventual winner Ruud Gullit.
Jan Oblak, as one of the world’s best goalkeepers, was also named to the 30-man shortlist.
Ballon d’Or nominees 2018
Sergio Agüero (Manchester City)
Alisson Becker (Roma/Liverpool)
Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Edinson Cavani (PSG)
Thibaut Courtois(Chelsea/Real Madrid)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid/Juventus)
Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)
Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
Diego Godín (Atlético)
Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
Francisco Alarcón ’Isco’ (Real Madrid)
Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
N´Golo Kanté (Chelsea)
Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur)
Mario Mandzukic (Juventus)
Sadio Mané (Liverpool)
Marcelo (Real Madrid)
Kylian Mbappé (PSG)
Ivan Rakitic (FC Barcelona)
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
Luis Suarez (FC Barcelona)
Raphaël Varane (Real Madrid)
Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)
Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
Jan Oblak (Atlético Madrid)
Paul Pogba (Manchester United)