Last year’s final three – Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez – are understood to be joined by Cesc Fabregas, Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol, David Villa, Dani Alves, Eric Abidal and Alexis Sanchez this year. If Mundo Deportivo’s report proves correct, it means the Catalans hold 20% of the nominees’ list.
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso, Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil and Iker Casillas also make the shortlist, whilst Spain are the best represented nation with nine players catalogued.
Members of the FIFA Technical Committee have begun voting from that 50 on a final list of 23 nominees that will be announced in November 1’s edition of France Football.
The FIFA Ballon d’Or is in its second year of existence after the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards were combined in 2010. Last year’s inaugural player award was won by Messi whilst the coaching equivalent was given to Jose Mourinho.