Suarez overlooked for Ballon d’Or

Published: Tuesday 28th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Luis Suarez’s controversial on-field antics appear to have counted strongly against him when an expert panel convened to draw up a 23-man shortlist for the 2014 FIFA Ballon d’Or award.

Barcelona’s former Liverpool player was perhaps the most notable omission from the list of contenders published on Tuesday morning.

The list, which has no Englishmen but five Barclays Premier League players on it, does include current holder Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.

Twenty-seven-year-old Suarez scored 31 goals for Liverpool as they narrowly missed out on the English title in May, but his season ended in controversy after he bit Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini while playing for Uruguay at the World Cup.

He was served with a four-month ban by FIFA as a consequence – a suspension which ended when he made his Barcelona debut against Real Madrid in Saturday’s El Clasico – and but for that he would surely have made the list and been a strong contender.

A FIFA spokesman told Press Association Sport that “expert groups” had made subjective choices when drawing up the list, making special reference to articles two and three of the 12-point criteria.

Article two states that “the awards reward the best in each category, without distinction of championship or nationality”, while article three identifies why Suarez may have fallen short this year.

It reads: “The awards are bestowed according to on-field performance and overall behaviour on and off the pitch.”

As it stands Barcelona forward Messi and his old foe Ronaldo of Real Madrid are sure to battle it out once more.

Ronaldo’s stunning form in 2014 puts him down as the clear favourite – he guided Real to the Champions League title in May and has 21 goals in 14 appearances so far this season.

His club team-mate and Wales forward Gareth Bale makes the list, with the Premier League representation made up of three players from Chelsea, one from Manchester City and one from Manchester United.

Of that quintet, though, only two were playing in the Premier League last season. Chelsea pair Thibaut Courtois and Diego Costa were at Atletico Madrid, while Manchester United’s Angel di Maria was with Ronaldo and Bale at Real. Eden Hazard of Chelsea and Manchester City’s Yaya Toure are also nominated.

World Cup winners Germany have six players on the list – the most from any nation.

Defender Diego Godin of Atletico Madrid, Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal and Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery – the French winger who took third place last season – are other notable omissions.

The 23-man list will be whittled down to three on December 1, with the winner announced in Zurich on January 12.

Also named are the nominees for coach of the year, with Manchester City’s title-winning manager Manuel Pellegrini, Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho and Manchester United’s Louis van Gaal amongst the 10.

Ballon d’Or shortlist: 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 Muller (Germany), Manuel Neuer (Germany), Neymar (Brazil), Paul Pogba (France), Sergio Ramos (Spain), Arjen Robben (Netherlands), James Rodriguez (Colombia), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), Yaya Toure (Cote d’Ivoire).

Coach of the year shortlist: Carlo Ancelotti (Italy/Real Madrid CF), Antonio Conte (Italy/Juventus FC/Italy national team), Pep Guardiola (Spain/FC Bayern Munich), Jurgen Klinsmann (Germany/USA national team), Joachim Low (Germany/Germany national team), Jose Mourinho (Portugal/Chelsea FC), Manuel Pellegrini (Chile/Manchester City FC), Alejandro Sabella (Argentina/Argentina national team), Diego Simeone (Argentina/Atletico Madrid), Louis van Gaal (Netherlands/Netherlands national team/Manchester United FC).

Published: Tuesday 28th October 2014 by The News Editor

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