Three members of Germany’s 2014 World Cup-winning team have been named to the shortlist for the annual Ballon d’Or award as the world’s best football player. Current holder Cristiano Ronaldo is among the favorites.
Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, his teammate, Thomas Müller and Toni Kroos of Real Madrid were among the 23 players on the shortlist, unveiled by soccer’s international governing body FIFA on Tuesday.
Kroos’ Real Madrid teammate, Cristiano Ronaldo, is vying for his third consecutive Ballon d’Orafter setting a club record with his 324th goal on Saturday.
Lionel Messi of Barcelona, who is currently injured is also high on the list, as is teammate Neymar, who is hoping to make the cut to the final three for the first time. That is to be announced on November 30, with the winner to be crowned at the annual FIFA gala in Zurich on January 11.
Champions League title holders Barcelona have the most players on the list with six, while Real have five. Bayern also have five on the list, including Arjen Robben and high-scoring striker Robert Levandowski, as well as Arturo Vidal, who they signed from Champions League finalists Juventus in the summer transfer window.
The shortlist of players:
Sergio Aguero (Argentina, Manchester City), Gareth Bale (Wales, Real Madrid), Karim Benzema (France, Real Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Real Madrid), Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium, Manchester City), Eden Hazard (Belgium, Chelsea), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden, Paris St. Germain), Andres Iniesta (Spain,Barcelona), Toni Kroos (Germany, Real Madrid), Robert Lewandowski (Poland, Bayern Munich), Javier Mascherano (Argentina, Barcelona),
Lionel Messi (Argentina, Barcelona), Thomas Müller (Germany, Bayern Munich), Manuel Neuer (Germany, Bayern Munich), Neymar (Brazil, Barcelona), Paul Pogba (France, Juventus), Ivan Rakitic (Croatia, Barcelona), Arjen Robben (Netherlands, Bayern Munich), James Rodriguez (Colombia, Real Madrid), Alexis Sanchez (Chile, Arsenal),
Luis Suarez (Uruguay, Barcelona), Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast, Manchester City), Arturo Vidal (Chile,Bayern Munich).
pfd/ (dpa, Reuters)