Manchester City and Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure has been named among players on the 23-man Ballon d’Or shortlist that has regulars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Joining him on the list are Manchester City duo Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne with Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez also in the frame to be named world football’s best player.
Ballon d’Or holder Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, who have won the last seven awards between them, lead the nominees. Wales and Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale is the only British player named.
There are few surprise names on the players’ list, with QPR midfielder Massimo Luongo and Bournemouth winger Christian Atsu, who reportedly made the 59-man longlist, overlooked.
Midfielders and forwards vastly outnumber goalkeepers and defenders, with Bayern Munich stopper Manuel Neuer and Barcelona centre-back Javier Mascherano the only players shortlisted from their respective positions.
La Liga leads the way, with 11 players nominated, Bundesliga has six nominees, two from Italy Serie A and one from Ligue 1 – Paris Saint-Germain’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Players who have transferred during the last year are recognized for their contribution to both clubs.
The award has been dominated by Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as part of their ongoing rivalry. As of 2014, Ronaldo is the most recent recipient of the FIFA Ballon d’Or, after beating Messi and Manuel Neuer to the award.
Fifa Ballon d’Or shortlist: Sergio Aguero (Argentina/Manchester City), Gareth Bale (Wales/Real Madrid), Karim Benzema (France/Real Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Real Madrid), Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium/VfL Wolfsburg/Manchester City), Eden Hazard (Belgium/Chelsea), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden/Paris Saint-Germain), Andres Iniesta (Spain/FC Barcelona), Toni Kroos (Germany/Real Madrid), Robert Lewandowski (Poland/FC Bayern Munich), Javier Mascherano (Argentina/FC Barcelona), Lionel Messi (Argentina/FC Barcelona), Thomas Muller (Germany/FC Bayern Munich), Manuel Neuer (Germany/FC Bayern Munich), Neymar (Brazil/FC Barcelona), Paul Pogba (France/Juventus), Ivan Rakitic (Croatia/FC Barcelona), Arjen Robben (Netherlands/FC Bayern Munich), James Rodriguez (Colombia/Real Madrid), Alexis Sanchez (Chile/Arsenal), Luis Suarez (Uruguay/FC Barcelona), Yaya Toure (Côte d’Ivoire/Manchester City), Arturo Vidal (Chile/Juventus/FC Bayern Munich).