Winner will be announced on January 13
Lionel Messi, Franck Ribery, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Neymar are among 23 candidates on the short list for the Ballon d’Or announced by FIFA on Tuesday.
Ribery, who won UEFA’s best player in Europe award for the 2012-13 season, helped Bayern Munich win the Champions League and Bundesliga and German Cup titles.
Messi, winner of the last four Ballon d’Or awards in voting by coaches, team captains and media, was injured late in the season and could not prevent Barcelona from being beaten by Bayern in the Champions League semi-finals.
Neymar joined Messi at Barcelona this season after a move from Santos in his native Brazil, while Welshman Bale moved to Real Madrid from Tottenham in September for 100 million euros, the richest transfer in football history. Another nominee was Liverpool forward Luis Suarez, who missed the start of the 2013-14 Premier League season while serving a 10-game suspension.
The Ballon d’Or, or world player of the year, winner will be announced Jan. 13 in Zurich.
Two now-retired managers Alex Ferguson of Manchester United and Bayern’s Jupp Heynckes are among 10 nominees for FIFA’s coach of the year award.AP