Football: Ronaldo, Messi favourites for world player of the year award

Days after their El Clasico showdown, Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona's Lionel Messi will do battle again - this time for the Fifa World Player of the Year award, the Ballon d'Or. -- PHOTO: AFP
Days after their El Clasico showdown, Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona's Lionel Messi will do battle again - this time for the Fifa World Player of the Year award, the Ballon d'Or. -- PHOTO: AFP

PARIS - Days after their El Clasico showdown, Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona's Lionel Messi will do battle again - this time for the Fifa World Player of the Year award, the Ballon d'Or.

The Spanish La Liga pair headline a 23-man shortlist announced by world football governing body Fifa on Monday.

The voting will be made by the captains and head coaches of all the men's national teams around the world, as well as by international media representatives selected by France Football magazine.

The shortlist will be whittled down to three final nominees on December 1. The winner of the award will be revealed at a gala ceremony at the Fifa headquarters in Zurich on January 12, 2015.

Men's shortlists for the Fifa Ballon d'Or 2014:

Gareth Bale (Wales), Karim Benzema (France), Diego Costa (Spain), Thibaut Courtois (Belgium), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Angel di Maria (Argentina), Mario Goetze (Germany), Eden Hazard (Belgium), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Toni Kroos (Germany), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Javier Mascherano (Argentina), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Thomas Mueller (Germany), Manuel Neuer (Germany), Neymar (Brazil), Paul Pogba (France), Sergio Ramos (Spain), Arjen Robben (Netherlands), James Rodriguez (Colombia), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), Yaya Toure (Côte d'Ivoire)

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