Football: Real, Barca's aces all shortlisted for Ballon d'Or award

PARIS • Real Madrid's blockbuster "BBC" forward line and Barcelona's devastating "MSN" trio are set to go head-to-head for this year's Ballon d'Or award after all six were named on the 23-man shortlist by Fifa yesterday.

Real's Cristiano Ronaldo, who set a club record with his 324th goal on Saturday, will be going in search of his third consecutive World Player of the Year award.

He faces competition from his team-mates Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale.

Joining them are four-time winner Lionel Messi and his Barcelona team-mates Neymar and Luis Suarez. The South American trio fired a combined 122 goals for the Catalan giants last season.

Barcelona, who won La Liga, the Champions League and Spanish Cup last term, have the most players on the shortlist. Andres Iniesta, Javier Mascherano and Ivan Rakitic are also in the running.

Real have five, with James Rodriguez and German World Cup winner Toni Kroos also named.

German champions Bayern Munich also have five representatives including Arturo Vidal, who is joined by Chilean compatriot Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal after their Copa America success.

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure, winner of the last four African Player of the Year awards, is the only non-European or South American to make the list.

The list was composed by the Fifa football committee and a group of experts from France Football. The winner will be announced in Zurich on Jan 11.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2015, with the headline 'Real, Barca's aces all shortlisted'. Print Edition | Subscribe