Messi, Ribery & Ronaldo on 23-man Ballon d'Or shortlist
Fifa and France Football have revealed the 23-man shortlist for the 2013 Fifa Ballon d'Or, with title-holder Lionel Messi, Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery, Real Madrid attacker Cristiano Ronaldo and world-record signing Gareth Bale among the candidates to win the individual award.
Ribery is accompanied by five Bayern Munich team-mates following the Bundesliga giants' impressive 2012-13 campaign, while los Blancos' £86million man Bale features after an outstanding season with Tottenham.
Robin van Persie, Luis Suarez, Yaya Toure, Eden Hazard and Mesut Ozil represent the Premier League on the list, though the Arsenal playmaker features after a great campaign with Real Madrid.
Usual suspects such as Andres Iniesta and Xavi have made the cut, as well as Paris Saint-Germain star Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The final decisions will be made by the captains and head coaches of the men’s national teams as well as international media representatives selected by France Football.
In early December 2013, Fifa and France Football will announce the names of the three men who have received the most votes, without revealing the winner.
The winners of the award will be revealed at the Fifa Ballon d’Or gala as part of a televised show at the Zurich Kongresshaus on 13 January 2014.
Last year's podium was made up of Messi, Ronaldo and Iniesta.
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).
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