Ballon d’Or 2014 contenders announced: Angel Di Maria among five Premier League players who make 23-man shortlist.
Manchester United’s record signing Angel Di Maria is among those in contention for this year’s Ballon d’Or award after being named on FIFA’s 23-man shortlist.
The £59.7million summer arrival and four other Premier League players – Diego Costa, Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois and Yaya Toure – made the cut, along with usual suspects Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who between them have won the last six world player of the year trophies.
Gareth Bale also features after an exceptional first season at Real Madrid, which saw him the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Copa Del Rey.
But there’s no place, unsurprisingly, for any Englishman after another disappointing year that saw the national side exit the World Cup in the group stages.
The list is dominated by top performers from Brazil, with six players from the winning Germany squad among those named.
James Rodriguez is also rewarded for his performances for Colombia, while Paul Pogba’s impressive displays for France see him featured.
However, Ronaldo is likely to be the favourite to win the top award for the second year in a row after a Champions League win and an astonishing start to the current season, which has seen him score 21 goals before the end of October.
FIFA also announced the coach of the year shortlist, including Premier League-winning boss Manuel Pellegrini, Jose Mourinho and Manchester United’s Louis van Gaal.
Ballon d’Or shortlist:
- Gareth Bale (Wales)
- Karim Benzema (France)
- Diego Costa (Spain)
- Thibaut Courtois (Belgium)
- Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
- Angel Di Maria (Argentina)
- Mario Goetze (Germany)
- Eden Hazard (Belgium)
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden)
- Andres Iniesta (Spain)
- Toni Kroos (Germany)
- Philipp Lahm (Germany)
- Javier Mascherano (Argentina)
- Lionel Messi (Argentina)
- Thomas Mueller (Germany)
- Manuel Neuer (Germany)
- Neymar (Brazil)
- Paul Pogba (France)
- Sergio Ramos (Spain)
- Arjen Robben (Netherlands)
- James Rodriguez (Colombia)
- Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany)
- Yaya Toure (Côte d’Ivoire)