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Bale among first Ballon d'Or nominees announced

Gareth Bale has been asked to fill the void left by Cristiano Ronaldo. Credit: PA

Gareth Bale, Sergio Aguero and Alisson Becker are among the first nominees announced for this year's Ballon d'Or award.

The honour, now separate from FIFA's own Best player of the year award, is bestowed annually by France Football magazine with the 30 nominees announced in groups of five, in alphabetical order.

Wales star Bale - whose bicycle kick against Liverpool helped clinch the Champions League for Real Madrid - joined Manchester City striker Aguero and Liverpool keeper Alisson in the first batch.

Bale's club-mate Karim Benzema and Paris St Germain striker Edinson Cavani were the other names in the initial quintet.