Premier League stars join Lionel Messi & Cristiano Ronaldo on Ballon d'Or list
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo lead Manchester United & Manchester City stars for Ballon d’Or
Premier League stars such as Wayne Rooney, Sergio Aguero, Robin van Persie and Mario Balotelli have been drawn up alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the shortlist for the 2013 Ballon d’Or.
Manchester United and Manchester City are the only Premier League sides to have players named but, as with Drogba at Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua, Robin van Persie’s inclusion is down to his goalscoring feats from last season when he was Arsenal captain.
Spain players make up an overwhelming majority on the list following their historic victory at Euro 2012, but Atletico Madrid’s Colombian striker Radamel Falcao has been wowing spectators with his Europa League-winning side and the frequency with which he is finding the net.
However, Brazilian sensation Neymar has been doing incredible things for his club Santos and he is mentioned as an equal to Messi and Ronaldo as the world's best with increasing frequency.
Serie A have a couple of representatives; Juventus veteran Andrea Pirlo was outstanding last season in captaining The Old Lady to an unbeaten season to claim the Scudetto, as well as being the outstanding player in Italy’s trip to the final of Euro 2012.
Pirlo’s club and international team-mate, goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, is also nominated.
Drogba’s Champions League exploits for Chelsea could see him as the main contender to the Barcelona and Real Madrid stars, but it will be hard to see past Messi after a season where he scored a record 73 goals.
Here is the full list:
Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli, Yaya Toure (all Manchester City), Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie (both Manchester United), Didier Drogba (Shanghai Shenhua), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (PSG), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid), Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets (all Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Iker Casillas, Mesut Ozil, Sergio Ramos, Xabi Alonso (all Real Madrid, Andrea Pirlo, Gianluigi Buffon (both Juventus), Neymar (Santos).