LUIS SUAREZ’S bite on Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini has almost certainly caused him to be left off the shortlist for the 2014 Fifa Ballon d’Or award.
The Barcelona striker was the most notable omission from the list of 23 nominees. It includes five current Barclays Premier League players but the only Brit is Real Madrid’s Welsh star Gareth Bale.
Suarez scored 31 goals for Liverpool last season but hit the headlines for his bite attack while playing for Uruguay at the World Cup.
He was then banned for four months by Fifa, his suspension ending on Saturday when he made his Barca debut against Real Madrid.
Fifa said the Ballon d’Or list had been drawn up by “expert groups” based on a 12-point criteria. But the third of those says: “The awards are bestowed according to on-field performance and overall behaviour on and off the pitch.”
World Cup winners Germany have six players on the list, which will be whittled down to three on December 1.
The winner will then be announced in Zurich on January 12.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the holder while Lionel Messi won the prize the previous three years.
The coach of the year nominees include Louis van Gaal of Manchester United, Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho, Manuel Pellegrini of Manchester City and Germany’s Joachim Low.
Ballon d’Or shortlist: Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Diego Costa, Thibaut Courtois, Angel di Maria, Mario Goetze, Eden Hazard, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Toni Kroos, Andres Iniesta, Philipp Lahm, Javier Mascherano, Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer, Paul Pogba, Sergio Ramos, Arjen Robben, James Rodriguez, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Yaya Toure, Neymar.