Ballon d'Or 2017 shortlist, date and time: Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and rivals battle to be crowned world's best footballer

Jessica Morgan

With no club trophies being handed out in December, attention can turn to one of football's most coveted awards.

The Ballon d'Or crowns the best player over the past year and competition is fierce as we approach Thursday's showpiece evening in Paris.

The winner will be crowned at the top of the Eiffel Tower at this year's glitzy ceremony.

Here's what you need to know ahead of the awards...

Photo: Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images

When is the Ballon d'Or?

The 62nd edition Ballon d'Or will be held in the French capital on Thursday, December 7.

The ceremony kicks-off at 6.45pm GMT, 7.45pm local time.

Former Tottenham and Newcastle winger David Ginola will host the awards ceremony.

Ballon d'Or shortlist

Neymar - Paris Saint-Germain

N'Golo Kante - Chelsea

Luka Modric - Real Madrid

Paulo Dybala - Juventus

Marcelo - Real Madrid

Edin Dzeko - Roma

Harry Kane - Tottenham

David De Gea - Manchester United

Robert Lewandowski - Bayern Munich

Kevin De Bruyne - Manchester City

Karim Benzema - Real Madrid

Pierre-Emerick Aubemyang - Borussia Dortmund

Edinson Cavani - Paris Saint-Germain

Philippe Coutinho - Liverpool

Luis Suarez - Barcelona

Jan Oblak - Atletico Madrid

Sergio Ramos - Real Madrid

Dries Mertens - Napoli

Radamel Falcao - Monaco

Sadio Mane - Liverpool

Gianluigi Buffon - Juventus

Antoine Griezmann - Atletico Madrid

Toni Kroos - Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo - Real Madrid

Eden Hazard - Chelsea

Leonardo Bonucci - AC Milan

Isco - Real Madrid

Lionel Messi - Barcelona

Mats Hummels - Bayern Munich

Kylian Mbappe - Paris Saint-Germain

How to follow the Ballon d'Or

As of now, only France daily L'Equipe's dedicated TV channel will be screening the coverage of the event.

Sadly, no UK broadcasters will show the ceremony, however, Standard Sport will bring you LIVE coverage.

Who is in the running for the Ballon D'Or?

Unsurprisingly, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were among the stand-out names on the 30-man shortlist released back in October.

Spain's La Liga accounts for more than a third of the shortlist (11), while seven Premier League players made the cut.

However, old foes Ronaldo and Messi are set to battle it out for the top prize.

Other players in the contention include Harry Kane, Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne.

How is the Ballon d'Or decided?

The award is on behalf of France Football magazine and the prestigious prize is selected by a group of 173 journalists from around the world.

Unfortunately, it's a closed shop to the public so fans will not be able to have their say.

Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Ronaldo or Messi?

Kaka was the last man other than them to win the prestigious award back in 2007.

But the duo have since dominated the awards, with Barca star Messi winning five compared to the Portuguese forward's four - the Real Madrid man winning it 12 months ago.

Having retained the Champions League and helping Los Blancos win the Spanish top flight, Ronaldo is once again the favourite to claim the crown - especially having already won FIFA's best player award in October too.