Spanish giants Barcelona top the FIFA shortlist for the Ballon d’Or world player of the year award with six players named in a second 23-strong selection.
They include the favourite for the prestigious award, Argentinian Lionel Messi, as well as Javier Mascherano (Argentina), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Neymar (Brazil), Ivan Rakitic (Croatia) and Luis Suarez (Uruguay).
They will be up against last year’s winner, Cristiano Ronaldo, and his Real Madrid team-mates Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema as well as five players from German giants Bayern Munich.
The winner will be announced in a ceremony at Zurich on January 11.
Shortlist for FIFA World Player of the Year award:
Sergio Agüero (Argentina/Manchester City), Gareth Bale (Wales/Real Madrid), Karim Benzema (France/Real Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Real Madrid), Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium/VfL Wolfsburg/Manchester City), Eden Hazard (Belgium/Chelsea), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden/Paris Saint-Germain), Andres Iniesta (Spain/Barcelona), Toni Kroos (Germany/Real Madrid), Robert Lewandowski (Poland/Bayern Munich), Javier Mascherano (Argentina/Barcelona), Lionel Messi (Argentina/Barcelona), Thomas Müller (Germany/Bayern Munich), Manuel Neuer (Germany/Bayern Munich), Neymar (Brazil/Barcelona), Paul Pogba (France/Juventus), Ivan Rakitic (Croatia/Barcelona), Arjen Robben (Netherlands/ Bayern Munich), James Rodriguez (Colombia/Real Madrid), Alexis Sanchez (Chile/Arsenal), Luis Suarez (Uruguay/Barcelona), Yaya Touré (Ivory Coast/Manchester City), Arturo Vidal (Chile/Juventus/Bayern Munich).
– Agence France-Presse