The 15 nominees for the Women's Ballon d'Or 2018
France Football have finally taken the huge forward step that they have been promising for some time now. The UEFA and FIFA awards have already began acknowledging the achievements of women footballers in the game, while France Football was rather reluctant to do so with its prestigious Ballon d'Or.
But not anymore. This year, the 2018 edition of the Ballon d'Or will be the first to witness a woman lift the famous trophy. 'France Football' have now announced, in identical fashion to the men's prize, the candidates nominated for the honour.
The shortlist of fifteen footballers has been announced, in three blocks of five, with less suspense perhaps, but just as much anticipation to its male counterpart.
The first five nominees were three from Olympique Lyonnais; England's Lucy Bronze, Norwegian Ada Hegerberg and Frenchwoman Amandine Henry, as well as Denmark and Wolfsburg's Pernille Harder, and American Lindsey Horan of the Portland Thorns.
The monopoly of Olympique Lyonnais continued in the second round of nominees. Saki Kumagai, Amel Majri and Dzsenifer Marozsan, the three candidates from the Ligue 1 and UEFA Women's Champions League holders. They were joined by England and Chelsea striker Fran Kirby, and Chicago Red star's Australian Sem Kerr.
And the nominations finsihed with the final five finalists; of whom Marta, an icon of the women's game, was the standout name. The 32 year old Brazilian, currently playing for Orlando Pride, will be hoping to add a finishing touch to her career with this award.
However despite nearing the end of her career, Marta is not the veteran of this shortlist; Megan Rapinoe of the USA and Seattle reign, her numerical senior by one year, and Canadian Portland Thorns' Christine Sinclair the oldest candidate at 35 years old.
The other two nominees are Wendie Renard, of France and Olympique Lyonnais, and FC Barcelona's dutch winger Lieke Martens.
Fifteen finalists, but only one woman can win the Ballon d'or, the first ever to do so in history.