FIFA has announced the candidates for the Ballon d’Or and once again the list is dominated by players from La Liga and the Bundesliga as Real Madrid and Bayern Munich were represented with six players each.
The list of 23 male candidates has been drawn up by football experts from the FIFA Football Committee and by a group of experts from France Football. The 23 shortlist will be reduced to three in December before the winners are announced on 12 January, 2015 in Zurich.
With Germany winning the World Cup, I would expect that at least one German player will make the final three list. But after helping Real to La Decimal last season, it is difficult not to envision Cristiano Ronaldo not retaining his title as the best player of the planet.
The following 23 men (in alphabetical order) are in contention for the FIFA Ballon d’Or 2014:
Gareth Bale (Wales, Real Madrid), Karim Benzema (France, Real Madrid), Diego Costa (Spain, Chelsea), Thibaut Courtois (Belgium, Chelsea), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Real Madrid), Angel Di Maria (Argentina, Manchester United), Mario Gotze (Germany, Bayern Munich), Eden Hazard (Belgium, Chelsea), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden, Paris St-Germain), Andres Iniesta (Spain, Barcelona), Toni Kroos (Germany, Real Madrid), Philipp Lahm (Germany, Bayern Munich), Javier Mascherano (Argentina, Barcelona), Lionel Messi (Argentina, Barcelona), Thomas Muller (Germany, Bayern Munich), Manuel Neuer (Germany, Bayern Munich), Neymar (Brazil, Barcelona), Paul Pogba (France, Juventus), Sergio Ramos (Spain, Real Madrid), Arjen Robben (Netherlands, Bayern Munich), James Rodriguez (Colombia, Real Madrid), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany, Bayern Munich), Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast, Manchester City).