The 23 candidates for The Best FIFA Men’s Player 2016 has been announced, and is a who's who of the best players in the world right now.
Voting for the player and coach of the year 2016 categories, in both men’s and women’s football, has already opened and will run until 22 November.
The winner will be determined though what FIFA refer to as a "combined voting process" where 50% of the decision will be cast from captains and head coaches of various national teams with the remaining 50% being split between an public ballot posted online as well as a select group of 200 representatives from the world media.
What's interesting is that Arsenal pair Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez have been included here after both were snubbed in the Ballon d'Or shortlist. This will no doubt come as good news to Gunners fans, who weren't best pleased by their previous omission
The Ballon d'Or shortlist was released last month, and while there are a number of duplications there are a several note worthy changes to go alongside the Arsenal pair.
For instance there is no room for Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuian or Bayern Munich's Arturo Vidal in FIFA's slim-lined list, but Leicester City title protagonists Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez are still both included.
See the full shortlist here:
Sergio Agüero (Argentina/Manchester City)
Gareth Bale (Wales/Real Madrid)
Gianluigi Buffon (Italy/Juventus)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Real Madrid)
Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium/Manchester City)
Antoine Griezmann (France/Atlético Madrid)
Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden/Paris Saint-Germain/Manchester United)
Andrés Iniesta (Spain/FC Barcelona)
N’Golo Kanté (France/Leicester City/Chelsea)
Toni Kroos (Germany/Real Madrid)
Robert Lewandowski (Poland/FC Bayern Munich)
Riyad Mahrez (Algeria/Leicester City)
Lionel Messi (Argentina/FC Barcelona)
Luka Modrić (Croatia/Real Madrid)
Manuel Neuer (Germany/FC Bayern Munich)
Neymar (Brazil/FC Barcelona)
Mesut Özil (Germany/Arsenal)
Dimitri Payet (France/West Ham United)
Paul Pogba (France/Juventus/Manchester United)
Sergio Ramos (Spain/Real Madrid)
Alexis Sánchez (Chile/Arsenal)
Luis Suárez (Uruguay/FC Barcelona)
Jamie Vardy (England/Leicester City)
United fans may be surprised to see the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba included given their recent struggles, but where the former helped Paris Saint-Germain to another Ligue 1 title, scoring 50 goals in 51 appearances, the latter played his part in Juventus recording yet another Serie A title before being a major force behind France making it to the final of Euro 2016.
The winner will be announced at The Best FIFA Football Awards show on 9 January 2017.
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