FIFA has today announced the 23-man shortlist for The Best FIFA Men’s Player 2016. The usual suspects – Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and the likes find their way on the list, however, Mesut Ozil, N’Golo Kante and Alexis Sanchez – were ignored for the Ballon d’Or nomination – also feature on this list.

Bayern Munich and Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal remains the only high-profile absentee from the list, while club teammate Thomas Muller has also been ignored – although he did have a below par Euro 2016.

The Best FIFA Men’s Player 2016 will be crowned at The Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony which will be held in Zurich, Switzerland on 9 January, 2017. The winner will be decided based on a combined voting process wherein 50% weightage will be given to the votes of head coaches and captains of all national teams, while the other 50% will be split between votes from over 200 selected media houses and an online public ballot, in which football fans can vote.

Here is the 23-man shortlist for The Best FIFA Men’s Player 2016:

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 Ibrahimovic (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 Modric (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).

In total, Spain leads the way with 10 footballers on the list who play in the La Liga, while the English Premier League are in second place with 8 players. The Bundesliga and Serie A have two nominations each while Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the only player to feature from Ligue 1 – and no he didn’t feature on the list for his exploits in England which has been minimal to put it nicely.

Earlier this year, the partnership between France Football and FIFA culminated resulting in the end of FIFA Ballon d’Or award and this led to the reintroduction of the Ballon d’Or by the governing body of France and The Best FIFA Football Awards by the world governing body of football.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have shared the spoils between them – having won the last 8 Ballon d’Ors between them – but it promises to be an interesting race this year with the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Luis Suarez and Alexis Sanchez making a strong case.

The list appears to be far more comprehensive than the Ballon d’Or, which looked to favor popularity over performance.

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