One of the pair have won every single award since 2007, but their their 11-year monopoly on football’s biggest individual prize looks set to come to an end.
Tuttosport claim Luka Modric, Kylian Mbappe and Raphael Varane are the three who will battle it out when the winner is announced on December 3.
Modric remains the favourite after inspiring Croatia to the World Cup final in Russia in the summer.
However, Mbappe and Varane will provide stiff competition as they were part of the France side who beat them in the final.
Mbappe scored four goals at the tournament and has made a blistering start to the season, with 11 strikes in Ligue 1 to fire him to the top of the scoring charts – ahead of Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Neymar.
Fellow PSG star Edison Cavani – also on the 30-man initial shortlist – has backed one of the French contingent to win it.
As well as Mbappe and Varane, the other World Cup-winning nominees include Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Antoine Griezmann and Hugo Loris.
Karim Benzema is also nominated but did not go to the World Cup.
“Varane may well be there, Griezmann, Mbappe. I think a Frenchman should win,” Cavani said.
“There are other players who could win it, but it should be a Frenchman, they have won the World Cup.
“Modric has had a great season, but his team-mate Varane won the Champions League and the World Cup.
“Modric was a finalist and had a great campaign, but Varane deserves it more.”
If Varane does win it he will become the first defender named the best player in Europe since Italy legend Fabio Cannavaro back in 2006.
In fact, only two other defenders have won it in the entire history of the award – Franz Beckenbauer (1972 and 1976) and Matthias Sammer (1996).
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Edinson Cavani (PSG)
Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid)
Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)
Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
Isco (Real Madrid)
Harry Kane (Tottenham)
N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)
Mario Mandzukic (Juventus)
Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Marcelo (Real Madrid)
Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid)
Paul Pogba (Manchester United)
Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona)
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Luis Suárez (Barcelona)
Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)
Read more here: Daily Express :: Sport Feedhappy wheels
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