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Gareth Bale Joins Cristiano Ronaldo And Lionel Messi on List For Ballon d’Or

Real Madrid’s Wales forward Gareth Bale is the only player from the UK on the 23-man shortlist for the Fifa 2014 men’s world footballer of the year award.

Ballon d’Or holder Cristiano Ronaldo and four-time winner Lionel Messi lead the 23 man star studded collection on FIFA’s shortlist for this year’s award honouring the world’s top player.

Bale, 25, scored 22 goals for Real Madrid last season, as the La Liga side won the Champions League. For the second successive year, no player from England, Scotland or Northern Ireland are represented in the final 23.

Five Premier League players in Thibaut Courtois, Diego Costa, Angel Di Maria, Eden Hazard and Yaya Toure have also been nominated for the Ballon d’Or.

The list was compiled by the FIFA Football Committee with the help of France Football. It will later be trimmed to three finalists, with the winner announced at a ceremony in January.

Manchester United v Aalborg - UEFA Champions League

Ronaldo has won the Ballon d’Or twice

Messi won the award four straight years from 2009-2012, while Ronaldo won it in 2008 and 2013 and will look to retain it as he had a wonderful season in 2013/14.

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, who has won the award three times in the last four years, is also on the shortlist, alongside team-mate Neymar but Luis Suarez misses out.

Initially the award was organized and presented solely by France Football until 2009, and then the news outlet joined with FIFA’s Player of the Year Award for the 2010 edition.

The list features 17 players from Europe, five from South America and one from Africa (Yaya Toure). World cup champions Germany are the most represented with six entries.

All of the candidates play their club football in Europe, for only eight different clubs, with Real Madrid and Bayern Munich tied for the most with six each, followed by Barcelona with four.

Two goalkeepers were named to the shortlist: Belgium’s Thibaut Courtois and Germany’s Manuel Neuer who were outstanding for both Club (Atletico Madrid/Bayern Munich) and Country.

The shortlist:

Gareth Bale, Wales, Real Madrid
Karim Benzema, France, Real Madrid
Diego Costa, Spain, Chelsea
Thibaut Courtois, Belgium, Chelsea
Angel Di Maria, Argentina, Manchester United
Mario Gotze, Germany, Bayern Munich
Eden Hazard, Belgium, Chelsea
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden, Paris Saint-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
Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal, Real Madrid
Bastian Schweinsteiger, Germany, Bayern Munich
Yaya Toure, Ivory Coast, Manchester City

FIFA also released the 10 candidates for the Coach of the Year award.

It included Joachim Low and Alejandro Sabella, the coaches of World Cup finalists Germany and Argentina, as well as the winners of the domestic club leagues in England (Maneul Pellegrini), Germany (Pep Guardiola), Spain (Diego Simeone) and Italy (Antonio Conte).

The list for Coach of the Year:

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

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