ZURICH: Wales’ Gareth Bale is the only British player included in FIFA’s 23-man Ballon d’Or shortlist for the third successive year.
Manchester City trio Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and Yaya Toure have been shortlisted alongside Chelsea winger Eden Hazard and Alexis Sanchez, who backed up his Arsenal form by helping his country Chile to Copa America success in 2015.
But it is once again Real Madrid and Barcelona who dominate the list, from which one player will be voted as the year’s best footballer at the FIFA Gala in Zurich on January 11, 2016.
Bale is joined by 2014 winner Cristiano Ronaldo and fellow Real team-mates Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez, while award favourite Lionel Messi has Barcelona quartet Neymar, Luis Suarez, Andres Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic for company,
Bayern Munich are represented by Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer, Arjen Robben and Arturo Vidal, while Paul Pogba of Juventus and Paris St Germain’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic complete the list.
Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli is the only national team coach on the list, which also includes Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri, Sevilla’s Unai Emery, Laurent Blanc of PSG, Atletico Madrid chief Diego Simeone and Carlo Ancelotti, who left Real Madrid in the summer.
FIFA Coach of the Year shortlist:
Massimiliano Allegri (Juventus), Carlo Ancelotti (Formerly of Real Madrid), Laurent Blanc (Paris St Germain), Unai Emery (Sevilla), Pep Guardiola (Bayern Munich), Luis Enrique (Barcelona), Jose Mourinho (Chelsea), Jorge Sampaoli (Chile), Diego Simeone (Atletico Madrid), Arsene Wenger (Arsenal).