Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona stars Lionel Messi and Neymar lead Fifa’s 23-player list of nominees for the 2015 Ballon d’Or Award announced on Wednesday for the men’s player of the year.
The list of nominees will be shortened to the final three contenders for the award on November 30 with Messi and Ronaldo almost certain to make the cut. With Messi out injured, Brazil striker Neymar — who made his fifth consecutive 23-player list — has taken over the spotlight at Barcelona and is looking to prove he has what it takes to finally make the three-player shortlist.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, who was last week handed a 50,000-pound ($77,400) fine and a suspended one-match stadium ban by England’s Football Association (FA), was included in the list of 10 nominees for World Coach of the Year.
Mourinho was sanctioned for remarks that “constituted improper conduct” as they implied bias and brought the game into disrepute.a suspended one-game stadium ban for accusing referees of being biased against his team. Speaking after a 3-1 loss to Southampton on Oct. 3, Mourinho said referees “are afraid to give decisions for Chelsea.”
The winners of the Ballon d’Or and Coach of the Year will be announced on January 11.
Argentina’s Messi and Portugal’s Ronaldo have shared the Ballon d’Or between themselves since 2008, with Messi claiming four and Ronaldo three, including the 2013 and 2014 awards.