ZURICH, Switzerland, October 29- Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale and Liverpool’s Luis Suarez have been named alongside previous winners Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the 23-man shortlist for FIFA’s Ballon d’Or award.
All players nominated for the award are currently based in Europe, with Champions League holders Bayern Munich rewarded for their efforts with six players — Franck Ribery, Philipp Lahm, Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer, Arjen Robben and Bastian Schweinsteiger — listed.
Messi, who has won the last four years, and Ronaldo, who was awarded the world’s best player in 2008, are again the frontrunners, with Bale’s standout season at Tottenham earning him a nomination.
Barcelona also have Xavi, Andres Iniesta and summer signing Neymar among the candidates, while Paris Saint-Germain trio Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani and Thiago Silva also made the cut.
Five Premier League players — Manchester United’s Robin van Persie, Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure, Suarez, Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil — will also be vying for a place on the final three-player list.
Retired United boss Sir Alex Ferguson headlines the shortlist for the coach of the year award, which also features former Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez.
Ballon d’Or shortlist: Gareth Bale (Real Madrid/Wales), Edinson Cavani (Paris St Germain/Uruguay), Radamel Falcao (Monaco/Colombia), Eden Hazard (Chelsea/Belgium), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris St Germain/Sweden), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona/Spain), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich/Germany), Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund/Poland), Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Argentina), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich/Germany), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich/Germany), Neymar (Barcelona/Brazil), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal/Germany), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus/Italy), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich/France), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich/Netherlands), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid/Portugal), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich/Germany), Luis Suarez (Liverpool/Uruguay), Thiago Silva (Paris St Germain/Brazil), Yaya Toure (Manchester City/Ivory Coast), Robin van Persie (Manchester United/Netherlands), Xavi (Barcelona/Spain).
Coach of the year shortlist: Carlo Ancelotti (Real Madrid/ex-Paris St Germain), Rafael Benitez (Napoli/ex-Chelsea), Antonio Conte (Juventus), Vicente Del Bosque (Spain), Sir Alex Ferguson (ex-Manchester United), Jupp Heynckes (ex-Bayern Munich), Jurgen Klopp (Borussia Dortmund), Jose Mourinho (Chelsea/ex-Real Madrid), Luiz Felipe Scolari (Brazil), Arsene Wenger (Arsenal).