Cristiano Ronaldo broke Lionel Messi’s grasp on the Ballon d’Or last year. Can he win it again?
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
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