The 23 nominees for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award have been listed today, naming two Spaniards and six players overall based in La Liga.
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has won the last four editions of the prestigious trophy, which recognises the best player of the last 12 months determined by a vote among each national team’s Coach and captain, and international representatives of the media selected by France Football.
Drawn up from a list of ‘football experts from the FIFA Football Committee’ and by a group from France Football, the publication that originally created the award, a 23-man list of finalists have today been announced for 2013’s edition.
Messi is once more listed as in contention and is joined by Barcelona teammates Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez and Neymar.
Real Madrid have Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale nominated, whilst former La Liga stars Mesut Ozil and Radamel Falcao are also on the list.
Bayern Munich are heavily represented off the back of their 2012-13 League, Cup and Champions League treble and Franck Ribery is seen as one of the favourites for the award.
During December, FIFA will cut the 23-man list to a final three, alongside listing the nominees for the FIFA FIFPro World XI shortlist and nominees for the FIFA Puskas Award, before winners are announced in January’s FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala.
FIFA Ballon d’Or men’s shortlist
Gareth Bale (Wales), Edinson Cavani (Uruguay), Radamel Falcao (Colombia), Eden Hazard (Belgium), Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden), Andrés Iniesta (Spain), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Robert Lewandowski (Poland), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Thomas Müller (Germany), Manuel Neuer (Germany), Neymar (Brazil), Mesut Özil (Germany), Andrea Pirlo (Italy), Franck Ribéry (France), Arjen Robben (Netherlands), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), Luis Suárez (Uruguay), Thiago Silva (Brazil), Yaya Touré (Côte d’Ivoire), Robin Van Persie (Netherlands), Xavi (Spain).