23-man Ballon d’Or shortlist revealed

Messi & Ronaldo 2016 Ballon d Or

The 2016 Ballon d’Or shortlist is out and has the usual inclusion of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. They have dominated this award for the last seven years and one of them is expected to lift this latest award too.

Two months ago, Lionel Messi beat his rival Cristiano Ronaldo to the UEFA Best Player in Europe award while Ronaldo won the Golden Shoe award for a record fourth time. So both players are lifting prestigious trophies making it harder to pick a winner for the Ballon d’Or.

If Messi wins the Ballon d Or, he will have won it an unprecedented five times. If Cristiano wins it, he will draw level with Messi on four. Lionel is the current record holder. So this year is crucial for Ronaldo if he wants to be recognised as the best player in the world because he can draw level with his rival if he lifts this one, but if Messi wins it, then Ronaldo may never catch him. While it is almost certain that the award will go to one of these players, the real surprise will be who gets the eventual third spot. Players contending for other position would have to include Polish striker Robert Lewandowski  and Chilean Sergio Aguero who have both been on a scoring spree of late.

Looking at the 23 man list by league, Spain’s La Liga has the most nominees with eleven players, followed by Germany’s Bundesliga with six , then the English Premier League with five nominees.

As for clubs, Barcelona leads with six players in the list while both Real Madrid and FC Bayern Munich have five players each. Manchester City is the leading English club with three players making the cut.

The leading countries with players in the list are Argentina, Belgium, and Germany which all contribute three players each.

FIFA BALLON D'OR 2015: THE NOMINEES

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Posted by FIFA Ballon D’Or on Monday, 19 October 2015

The 23 man list divided by league and showing country and club is as follows. Note: both Kevin De Bruyne and Arturo Vidal are mentioned twice because they played in two leagues.

La Liga

  • Andres Iniesta (Spain/FC Barcelona),
  • Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Real Madrid),
  • Gareth Bale (Wales/Real Madrid),
  • Ivan Rakitic (Croatia/FC Barcelona),
  • James Rodriguez (Colombia/Real Madrid),
  • Javier Mascherano (Argentina/FC Barcelona),
  • Karim Benzema (France/Real Madrid),
  • Lionel Messi (Argentina/FC Barcelona),
  • Luis Suarez (Uruguay/FC Barcelona),
  • Neymar (Brazil/FC Barcelona),
  • Toni Kroos (Germany/Real Madrid).

Bundesliga

  • Arjen Robben (Netherlands/FC Bayern Munich),
  • Arturo Vidal (Chile/Juventus/FC Bayern Munich) *,
  • Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium/VfL Wolfsburg/Manchester City) *,
  • Manuel Neuer (Germany/FC Bayern Munich),
  • Robert Lewandowski (Poland/FC Bayern Munich),
  • Thomas Muller (Germany/FC Bayern Munich).

English Premier League

  • Alexis Sanchez (Chile/Arsenal),
  • Eden Hazard (Belgium/Chelsea),
  • Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium/VfL Wolfsburg/Manchester City) *,
  • Sergio Aguero (Argentina/Manchester City),
  • Yaya Toure (Côte d’Ivoire/Manchester City).

Italy’s Serie A

  • Arturo Vidal (Chile/Juventus/FC Bayern Munich) *,
  • Paul Pogba (France/Juventus).

France’s Ligue

  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden/Paris Saint-Germain).

Who do you think should win the Ballon d’Or? Will it be Messi, Ronaldo, or perhaps another player? Leave a comment below.

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