Tuesday, October 28, 2014

No Suarez in Ballon D'Or shortlist

FIFA's Ballon D'Or shortlists for the men's player of the year and coach of the year awards have been released.

All the 23 nominated players are Europe-based, with Cristiano Ronaldo favourite to retain his title. Five of Germany's World Cup-winning team are included, although there is no space for Luis Suarez, thanks to his bite in Brazil.

Otherwise, the Uruguayan would surely have been included for his 31 goals in 33 games for Liverpool last season, a tally only matched in Europe by Cristiano Ronaldo at Real.

Five of the chosen players are South American (Lionel Messi, James Rodriguez, Neymar, Javier Mascherano and Angel di Maria), one African (Yaya Toure) and one from the British Isles (Gareth Bale).

The ten-man shortlist for the world's best coach contains the usual suspects, although Jose Pekerman's guiding of Colombia to the last eight of the World Cup after they had not been to the finals since 1998 goes unrewarded.

Jorge Luis Pinto's achievements in taking unfancied Costa Rica to a heroic penalty defeat at the same stage of the tournament are also ignored. Jurgen Klinsmann, who coached the USA to the second round of the tournament however, makes the list.

FIFA World Men's Player of the Year shortlist:

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).

FIFA Coach of the Year shortlist:

Carlo Ancelotti (Real Madrid), Antonio Conte (Juventus & Italy), Pep Guardiola (Bayern Munich), Jurgen Klinsmann (USA), Joachim Low (Germany), Jose Mourinho (Chelsea), Manuel Pellegrini (Manchester City), Alejandro Sabella (Argentina), Diego Simeone (Atletico Madrid), Louis van Gaal (Netherlands & Manchester United).

The decisions will be made by national team captains and coaches and a coterie of international journalists assembled by France Football magazine, who started the European Footballer of the Year award in 1956. FIFA's World Player of the Year began in 1991 and the two prizes merged in 2010.

Other prizes up for grabs include the FIFA Fifpro World XI team of the year, the FIFA Ferenc Puskas award for most beautiful goal, the FIFA Presidential award and FIFA Fair Play award.

The winners will be announced in Zurich on the 12th of January 2015.

-Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

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