Ballon d’Or shortlist: Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi the favourites

Ballon d’Or shortlist: Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi the favourites

FIFA have included six players from ther German team that won the 2014 World Cup, along with perennial rivals Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, in the 23-man shortlist for this year’s Ballon d’Or prize.

The names which were released on Tuesday includes Philipp Lahm, Mario Gotze, Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer and Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Ronaldo is the current holder of the award and is hot favourite to retain the prize again. Before 2013, Messi had won it for four consecutive years.

The winner for 2014 will be announced on January 12 in Zurich.

2014 FIFA Ballon d’Or shortlist:

Gareth Bale (Wales), Karim Benzema (France), Diego Costa (Spain), Thibaut Courtois (Belgium), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Angel Di Maria (Argentina), Mario Gotze (Germany), Eden Hazard (Belgium), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Toni Kroos (Germany), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Javier Mascherano (Argentina), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Thomas Muller (Germany), Manuel Neuer (Germany), Neymar (Brazil), Paul Pogba (France), Sergio Ramos (Spain), Arjen Robben (Netherlands), James Rodriguez (Colombia), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast)

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