It’s finally that time of year: time to heavily debate often farcical individual world fútbol accolades! Today La Gazzetta dello Sport released the 59-candidate Ballon d’Or “shortlist.” In summary:
With six nominations, Argentina leads the way as the country with the most players, including Sergio Agüero (Manchester City), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Nicolás Otamendi (Valencia – Manchester City), Javier Pastore (PSG), and Carlos Tévez (Juventus – Boca Juniors).
Three Brazilians made the cut: Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Neymar (Barcelona), and Willian (Chelsea); five Chilean Copa América champions: Claudio Bravo (Barcelona), Gary Medel (Inter Milan), Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal), Eduardo Vargas (QPR-Hoffenheim), and Arturo Vidal (Juvenuts – Bayern Munich); and four Colombians: Carlos Bacca (Sevilla – AC Milan), Jackson Martínez (Porto – Atlético de Madrid), David Ospina (Arsenal), and James Rodríguez (Real Madrid).
Another five hail from Spain, but it’s the exclusions that are making waves on social media. While Diego Costa (Chelsea), David De Gea (Manchester United), Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona), Álvaro Morata (Juventus), and Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid) made the list, Sergio Busquets, David Silva, and Gerard Piqué failed to do so.
Some fans are naturally a bit frustrated with the omissions, but it’s true: the LA Galaxy’s Giovani Dos Santos is on the list, along with his El Tri counterpart Andrés Guardado (PSV).
What’s perhaps most exciting is the inclusion of two players honing their craft in South America – Peruvian Paolo Guerrero (Corinthians – Flamengo), Uruguayan Carlos Sánchez (River), Edinson Cavani (PSG), and Luis Suárez (Barcelona) also feature prominently on the list.
It’s fantastic to see some players outside of Europe getting recognition for their individual merits.
Now that we have a few months to assess and analyze, who are your frontrunners for FIFA World Player of the Year?