Ronaldo, Messi headline Ballon d’Or shortlist

Monday 27th October , 2014 7:55 pm

Ballon d’Or holder Cristiano Ronaldo and four-time winner Lionel Messi are among 23 players on FIFA’s list of contenders for this year’s award honouring the world’s top player.

The list was compiled by the FIFA Football Committee with the help of French magazine France Football. It will be trimmed to a shortlist of three on Dec. 1, with the winner announced at a ceremony in Zurich on Jan 12, 2015.

Messi won the award four straight years from 2009-2012, while Ronaldo won it in 2008 and 2013. The award was presented solely by France Football until 2009, and the publication joined with FIFA’s World Player of the Year Award for the 2010 edition.

The list features 17 players from Europe, five from South America and one from Africa (Yaya Toure). World champions Germany are the most represented with six entries.

All of the candidates play their club football in Europe, for only eight different clubs, with Real Madrid and Bayern Munich tied for the most with six each, followed by Barcelona with four.

Two goalkeepers were named to the shortlist: Belgium’s Thibaut Courtois and Germany’s Manuel Neuer.

There was no place on the list for Barcelona striker Luis Suarez, who was named the Premier League’s Player of the Year last season while at Liverpool and shared the Golden Ball award as Europe’s top goal scorer last term with Ronaldo, following his four-month ban for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini during a match at the World Cup.

The list of 23 contenders:

Gareth Bale, Wales, Real Madrid

Karim Benzema, France, Real Madrid

Diego Costa, Spain, Chelsea

Thibaut Courtois, Belgium, Chelsea

Angel Di Maria, Argentina, Manchester United

Mario Gotze, Germany, Bayern Munich

Eden Hazard, Belgium, Chelsea

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden, Paris Saint-Germain

Andres Iniesta, Spain, Barcelona

Toni Kroos, Germany, Real Madrid

Philipp Lahm, Germany, Bayern Munich

Javier Mascherano, Argentina, Barcelona

Lionel Messi, Argentina, Barcelona

Thomas Muller, Germany, Bayern Munich

Manuel Neuer, Germany, Bayern Munich

Neymar, Brazil, Barcelona

Paul Pogba, France, Juventus

Sergio Ramos, Spain, Real Madrid

Arjen Robben, Netherlands, Bayern Munich

James Rodriguez, Colombia, Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal, Real Madrid

Bastian Schweinsteiger, Germany, Bayern Munich

Yaya Toure, Ivory Coast, Manchester City

FIFA also released the 10 candidates for the Coach of the Year award.

It included Joachim Low and Alejandro Sabella, the coaches of World Cup finalists Germany and Argentina, as well as the winners of the domestic club leagues in England (Maneul Pellegrini), Germany (Pep Guardiola), Spain (Diego Simeone) and Italy (Antonio Conte).

The list of 10 contenders:

Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid

Antonio Conte, Juventus/Italy

Pep Guardiola, Bayern Munich

Jurgen Klinsmann, United States

Joachim Low, Germany

Jose Mourinho, Chelsea

Manuel Pellegrini, Manchester City

Alejandro Sabella, Argentina

Diego Simeone, Atletico Madrid

Louis van Gaal, Netherlands/Manchester United