FIFA announces Ballon d’Or shortlist

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are among the 23-man shortlist for the 2015 Ballon d’Or.

The award, which is ultimately decided by the captains and head coaches of national teams together with media representatives, will likely be presented for the player deemed to be the ideal performer in the calendar year.
Genuine Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, winner the past two years, and four-time winner Lionel Messi of Barcelona are after again set to compete for the major prize, with the duo sharing the top rated two spots since 2011.
All 23 candidates play their football in Europe, with 11 players plying their trade in La Liga, 5 in the Premier League, 5 within the Bundesliga and just the one nomination from each Ligue 1 and Serie A.
German champions Bayern Munich have 5 candidates for the best prize, while Madrid will be the next closest with 4.
Planet Cup 2014 finalists Argentina and Germany will be the finest represented nations in the list with Messi, Javier Mascherano, Sergio Aguero, Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller and Manuel Neuer all featuring.
The ceremony will take place on January 11 2016 in Zurich.
23-man shortlist in complete:
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City/Argentina)
Gareth Bale (Actual Madrid/Wales)
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid/France)
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City/Belgium)
Eden Hazard (Chelsea/Belgium)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain/Sweden)
Andres Iniesta (Barcelona/Spain)
Toni Kroos (Genuine Madrid/Germany)
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich/Poland)
Javier Mascherano (Barcelona/Argentina)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Argentina)
Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich/Germany)
Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich/Germany)
Neymar (Barcelona/Brazil)
Paul Pogba (Juventus/France)
Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona/Croatia)
Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich/Netherlands)
James Rodriguez (True Madrid/Colombia)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Genuine Madrid/Portugal)
Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal/Chile)
Luis Suarez (Barcelona/Uruguay)
Yaya Toure (Manchester City/Ivory Coast)
Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich/Chile)

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