Earlier this week, the 30 man list for 2018's Ballon d'Or was released. The list contained most of the usual suspects, however, we did see a few surprising names on the list. Here we will discuss the players who have made the list due to reputation and team success, rather than individual performances.
#5 Mohamed Salah
Back in May, Salah looked on course to be in contention for 2018's Ballon d'Or. Since sustaining an injury during the UEFA Champions League final, Salah's form has plummeted and the Egyptian's place in the Liverpool team is now in question.
The 26-year-old also failed to win any silverware in the last 12 months, which makes his reason for inclusion even more questionable.
Salah was among the stand out players of the 2017/18 Premier League season, however, it is worth noting that his performances split over two calendar years. When looking at 2018 alone, Salah has only performed well for four out of 10 months.
The Ballon d'Or criteria state that only performances from the current year are taken into account, and based on his 2018 form, Salah should not be on the shortlist.
#4 Hugo Lloris
During the last 12 months, Hugo Lloris has probably endured his worst form for Tottenham since signing back in 2012. He remains a fantastic shot-stopper, however, the frequency of his mistakes has increased dramatically during 2018.
The 31-year-old highlighted his current tendency to make mistakes when he gifted Croatia a goal during the World Cup final. Ultimately Lloris' inclusion on the list is due to the fact that he captained France to World Cup Glory in Russia.
#3 Mario Mandzukic
The powerful Croatian enjoyed an excellent World Cup, and this seems to be the main reason for his inclusion. The striker has managed just five league goals in 2018, and he often struggles to get into Juventus' starting 11 due to their array of attacking talent.
The 32-year-old's inclusion can be attributed to his performances in Russia, where he scored in both the semi-final and the final during Croatia's incredible run.
When you consider his performances over the whole of 2018, the Croatian is very fortunate to be on the 30 man shortlist.
#2 Alisson Becker
Alisson is undoubtedly among the best young goalkeepers in Europe, however, it is a stretch to say that the Brazilian has been among the world's best players in 2018.
His best performances were during his time in Roma, as he didn't exactly impress during the World Cup, and his performances with Liverpool have already been questioned.
The 26-year-old may prove to be a future contender for the prestigious individual award, however, this year's nomination has come too early for the goalkeeper.
#1 Karim Benzema
Despite what many football fans believe, Karim Benzema is an excellent footballer who quietly contributes to the success of the Madrid team. His intelligent off-the-ball movement and link up play with teammates has been a vital part of Real Madrid's recent European dominance, and his style of play has been lauded by Cristiano Ronaldo.
Despite his unselfish play style, the Frenchman is not among the world's best players. While he creates space for Madrid's other attacking players, he does not score anywhere near enough goals to be considered for Europe's top individual prize.
The 30-year-old has managed just seven league goals in 2018, a number that is blown away by La Liga's top players such as Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez. Benzema's biggest strength as a footballer is his ability to make those around him better, however, to name him among 2018's best players is a serious error.