The Barcelona star lead a 30-man shortlist, with Virgil van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo expected to finish on the podium. There was no place for last year's winner Luka Modric, though his Real Madrid team-mates Karim Benzema and Eden Hazard are in the running.
USA national team forward Megan Rapinoe has won the women’s Ballon d’Or .
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Who is in the shortlist?
How to follow the Ballon d'Or
There is no UK television broadcaster but Standard Sport will bring you live coverage of the event.
What is the Ballon d’Or and how does it differ from the Fifa Best Awards?
The Ballon d’Or was first conceived by France Football writer Gabriel Hanot in 1956 but prior to 1995 the award, voted for by football journalists, was confined to Europe. Liberia striker George Weah won in his first year of eligibility but is currently the only player from outside Europe or South America to win the prize.
Between 1991 and 2010 Fifa had its own World Player of the Year prize but for the five subsequent years the governing body and France Football jointly awarded the Ballon d’Or.
This partnership ended in 2016, after which Fifa began a ceremony named The Best Football Awards.
Past Ballon d’Or winners
Ronaldo and Messi share the record for most Ballon d’Or wins with five, while the Juventus star has one more second-placed finish than his rival. Messi has one third-place to his name.
Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten have all won the prize three times whilst Kevin Keegan is the only English player to have won it more than once, taking the crown in 1978 and 1979.
Barcelona and Real Madrid have the most Ballon d’Or wins (11 each). Juventus and AC Milan players have won the prize eight times.
Manchester United (Denis Law, Bobby Charlton, George Best, Cristiano Ronaldo), Liverpool (Michael Owen) and Blackpool (inaugural winner Stanley Matthews) are the only English clubs who have fielded Ballon d’Or winners.