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Bale, Ronaldo on Ballon d'Or shortlist

ESPN staff
October 29, 2013
ESPN FC: Bale and Ronaldo

Real Madrid forwards Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo - the two most expensive players in football history - are among the 23-man shortlist for FIFA's Ballon d'Or award.

Liverpool's Luis Suarez, Chelsea's Eden Hazard, Manchester United's Robin Van Persie, Arsenal record signing Mesut Ozil and Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure are the Premier League representatives.

All players nominated for the award are currently based in Europe, with Champions League holders Bayern Munich rewarded for their efforts with six players - Franck Ribery, Philipp Lahm, Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer, Arjen Robben and Bastian Schweinsteiger - listed.

Messi, who has won the last four years, and Ronaldo, who was awarded the world's best player in 2008, are again the frontrunners, with Bale's standout season at Tottenham earning him a nomination.

Barcelona also have Xavi, Andres Iniesta and summer signing Neymar among the candidates, while Paris Saint-Germain trio Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani and Thiago Silva also made the cut.

Retired Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson headlines the shortlist for the coach of the year award, which also features former Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez.

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).

Coach of the year shortlist: Carlo Ancelotti (Real Madrid/ex-Paris St Germain), Rafael Benitez (Napoli/ex-Chelsea), Antonio Conte (Juventus), Vicente Del Bosque (Spain), Sir Alex Ferguson (ex-Manchester United), Jupp Heynckes (ex-Bayern Munich), Jurgen Klopp (Borussia Dortmund), Jose Mourinho (Chelsea/ex-Real Madrid), Luiz Felipe Scolari (Brazil), Arsene Wenger (Arsenal).

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