Let me clear up the confusion. I do not believe there was any consideration for the consequences and ramifications of the tweet. I’m not discussing the substance. Others can talk About that.
Virgil van Dijk is one of seven Liverpool players named on the 30-man shortlist for the 2019 Ballon d’Or.
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Georginio Wijnaldum and Alisson have also been chosen from the Reds.
Five Manchester City players – Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez, Kevin de Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero – are on the list.
Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris and Son Heung-min are also included.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who have won the award 10 times between them, again feature among the contenders.
Reds dominate players from one club
Champions League winners Liverpool have the most players on the list from one club with Premier League champions Manchester City the next highest number with five.
Barcelona have four players; as well as Messi, Frenkie de Jong, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Antoine Griezmann feature in the list.
Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is also included, as is Real Madrid’s former Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard.
When do we find out who has won?
The Ballon d’Or winner will be named in Paris on 2 December.
Luka Modric won in 2018 to end the seven-year dominance of the award by Messi and Ronaldo.
Van Dijk is among the favourites to win this year’s award after being named Uefa Player of the Year in August.
What are the game’s three main player awards?
A version of the Ballon d’Or has been awarded by France Football magazine since 1956, but was merged with Fifa’s World Footballer of the Year award from 2010 to 2015.
However, Fifa ended its association with the Ballon d’Or the following year to set up its own – the Best Fifa Player award.
In September, Messi won that award in the fourth edition of the Best Fifa Football Awards.
Meanwhile, Uefa’s Player of the Year award has been going since 1998 and was previously called Uefa Club Footballer of the Year (1998-2010) and Uefa Best Player in Europe (2011-16).
Best keeper award
Four Premier League-based keepers are in the running for the Yashin Award – named after Russia legend Lev Yashin – the only goalkeeper to have won the Ballon d’Or itself.
They are Liverpool’s Alisson, Ederson of Manchester City, Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga and Tottenham’s Lloris.
Also nominated are Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer, Inter Milan’s Samir Handanovic, Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak, Ajax’s Andre Onana, Juventus’ Wojciech Szczesny and Ter Stegen of Barcelona.
Who are the young player candidates?
The Kopa Trophy is presented to the best performing player under the age of 21 and is selected by former Ballon d’Or winners. Like the main Ballon d’Or prize, it is also organised by France Football.
It is open to those who play outside Europe and was first awarded in 2018, with Paris St-Germain and France World Cup-winning forward Kylian Mbappe the clear winner.
This year’s nominees include Borussia Dortmund and England winger Jadon Sancho, 19, Everton and Italy forward Moise Kean, 19, and Arsenal’s French midfielder Matteo Guendouzi, 20.
Others in the running are Juventus’ Netherlands defender Matthijs de Ligt, 20, Real Madrid’s Brazil forward Vinicius Junior, 19, Valladolid and Ukraine keeper Andriy Lunin, 20, Bayer Leverkusen and Germany midfielder Kai Havertz, 20, Atletico Madrid and Portugal forward Joao Felix, 19, Villarreal and Nigeria winger Samuel Chukwueze, 20, and Valencia and South Korea forward Lee Kang-in, 18.
List of nominees for the main award:
Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)
Son Heung-min (Tottenham)
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus)
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool)
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona)
Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)
Dusan Tadic (Ajax)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)
Kylian Mbappe (Paris St-Germain)
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
Donny van de Beek (Ajax)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona)
Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)
Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)
Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli)
Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona)
Mohammed Salah (Liverpool)
Eden Hazard (Real Madrid)
Marquinhos (Paris St-Germain)
Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid)
Basketball superstar LeBron James has weighed in on a row between the NBA and China, saying a team manager who caused uproar with a tweet about Hong Kong “wasn’t educated” on the situation.