A shortlist of 23 nominees will be whittled down by the captains and head coaches of the men’s national side’s along with accredited members of the press.
The contenders this year are as follows:
Sergio Aguero, Xabi Alonso, Mario Balotelli, Karim Benzema, Gianluigi Buffon, Sergio Busquets, Iker Casillas, Cristiano Ronaldo, Didier Drogba, Radamel Falcao, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Manuel Neuer, Neymar, Mesut Ozil, Gerard Pique, Andrea Pirlo, Sergio Ramos, Wayne Rooney, Yaya Toure, Robin van Persie, and Xavi.
That list includes 7 Spaniards, 3 Italians, 2 Argentines, 2 Ivoirians, 2 Germans, a Frenchman, a Portuguese, a Colombian, a Swede, a Brazilian, an Englishman and a Dutchman.
The last three year’s Argentina’s Lionel Messi has scooped the top prize and looks set to record his fourth. His likely serious competition is likely to come from Cristiano Ronaldo, his Barcelona teammates Xavi and Andres Iniesta, or perhaps on the peripherals Robin van Persie and Sergio Aguero.
Previous multiple winners include Johan Cruyff, Michel Platini, Marco van Basten who each won 3, Alefredo Di Stefano, Franz Beckenbauer, Kevin Keegan, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, and Ronaldo who each won twice.
Should Messi win for a fourth consecutive time in January, he would surely seal his reputation as footballs greatest ever player.
The Germans and the Dutch have traditionally performed well in the gala – both picking up 7 wins each. Could Manchester United’s Robin van Persie pip the Argentine to the post this time around?
The flying Dutchman was awarded the FWA Footballer of the Year award, the PFA Player of the Year award, and the Premier League Golden boot last season for former club Arsenal.
Or perhaps Real Madrid duo Cristiano Ronaldo, probably the world’s second best footballer, and German Mesut Ozil will contend.
Personally, I can’t see the award going anywhere other than back into the hands of Lionel Messi. He is undoubtedly the best footballer on the planet, rivaled only by Ronaldo keeps coming a close second.
Should he win again, Messi will mark this era as the greatest ever era to play, watch, and delight in professional football.
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