Soccer Brand; FIFA Announces 23-Man Shortlist For Balon d’Or Award

Balon d'or candidatesOn Tuesday, world football governing body, FIFA in collaboration with respected magazine, France Football released a 23 man shortlist in the running for the FIFA Balon d’Or. The list contained the usual suspects; Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. A justified inclusion was that of Franck Ribery, who enjoyed a stellar year as his dazzling displays helped his clubside, Bayern Munich to win an unprecedented treble under now retired Manager, Jupp Heynckes. Others include Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Xavi, Andreas Iniesta, Edison Cavani, Neymar Jr, Gareth Bale and Roberto Lewandowski. Below is the list of the shortlisted players;


   Name  Nationality
  Clubside  Comments
  1. Lionel Messi   Argentina  FC Barcelona  Despite an underwhelming season, his trailer load of goals still led Barcelona to the Champions League Semis and won them the La Liga.
  2. Cristiano Ronaldo  Portugal  Real Madrid  The Portuguese Superstar remains the main man for club and country as his goals ensured that his team remained in the hunt for trophies.
  3. Franck Ribery  France  Bayern Munich  Deserved mention. Stands a decent chance of winning the award on the back of a fulfilling year where he led his club to the treble.
  4. Zlatan Ibrahimovic  Sweden  Paris St Germain  The giant Swede enjoyed personal success, scored 30 goals in all competitions. Almost unplayable atimes.
  5. Andreas Iniesta  Spain  FC Barcelona  The tricky Spanish maestro was at the heart of every good thing his club did on the pitch.
  6. Xavi Hernandez  Spain  FC Barcelona  The metronomic Spaniard remains the orchestrator of the midfield of both club and country.
  7. Edinson Cavani  Uruguay  Paris St Germain  The Uruguayan performed excellently at both Napoli and the Confederations Cup.
  8. Luis Suarez  Uruguay   Liverpool  Despite his disciplinary issues, the Uruguayan was arguably the best player in the Premier League, scoring sublime goals for club and country.
  9. Gareth Ba  Wales  Real Madrid  The Welsh winger won a raft of awards as his brilliance brought Tottenham on the brink of qualifying for Europe. Joined Real Madrid for a world record £86m.
   10.  Eden Hazard   Belgium  Chelsea  The Belgian winger played a huge role as Chelsea won the Europa League last season.
   11. Radamel Falcao  Colombia  Monaco  The free-scoring Colombian was the reason behind Athletico Madrid’s very successful season. Joined Monaco in the summer.
   12. Phillip Lahm  Germany  Bayern MunichCaptain Marvel, the pint-sized German was part of the spine of the Bayern team that won the treble last season. One of the world’s best in his position.
   13. Robert Lewandowski
  Poland  Borussia DortmundThe Pole who single-handedly destroyed Madrid in the Champions League, his goals led his team to the Champions League final.
  14. Thomas Muller  Germany   Bayern MunichAn attacking midfielder of real quality scored important goals as Bayern ruled Europe.
  15. Mesut Ozil  Germany  ArsenalThe king of assists in Europe, the German’s can be summed up by the hue and cry that greeted his exit from Real Madrid.
  16. Manuel Neuer  Germany  Bayern MunichEasily among the top 3 keepers in the world, Bayern depended on his reflexes to conquer Europe.
  17. Neymar Jr.  Brazil  Barcelona  The best player at the Confederations Cup. A star in the making.
  18. Andrea Pirlo  Italy  Juventus  The peerless one definitely rolled back the years as his jaw-dropping midfield play ensured that Juventus won the Scudetto in style.
  19.  Arjen Robben  Netherlands  Bayern Munich  Another member of the all-conquering Bayern team, his goal won Bayern the Champions League.
  20. Bastian Schweinsteiger  Germany   Bayern Munich  The midfield lynchpin of the Bayern team, he asserted himself as one the best players in the world last season.
  21. Thiago Silva  Brazil  Paris St Germain  The best defender in the world now, his ability guided Brazil to Confederations Cup glory.
  22. Yaya Toure  Ivory Coast  Manchester City  The Ivorian was at the heart of everything good about Manchester City. His efforts were a real tour de force.
 23. Robin Van Persie  Netherlands  Manchester United  The talisman for Manchester United as they strolled to their 20th League title with the Dutchman bagging 20 goals.



The winners of the award will be revealed at the FIFA Ballon d’Or gala as part of a televised show at the Zurich Kongresshaus on 13 January 2014.

Journalists, National Team Coaches and Captains of the member countries of FIFA are expected to cast their votes to determine the winner of the award that Argentine superstar, Lionel Messi has won a record four times in a row.