Considering that Germany were the first European side to win a World Cup in South America it was always likely that this year’s Ballon D’or shortlist would be littered with members of that triumphant squad.
The only British player to find his way onto the list is Gareth Bale, who had a remarkable year with Real Madrid. His team mate at club level, Cristiano Ronaldo, is another inevitable inclusion. As are Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos and ex-Madrid star Angel di Maria.
5 current Premier League players make it onto the list – Thibaut Courtois, Diego Costa, Angel Di Maria (now of Manchester United), Eden Hazard and Yaya Toure – in what could be a tighter contest than in recent years. Ronaldo is an obvious favourite for spearheading Real Madrid’s Champions League win and continuing his scoring spree into the new season.
Germany’s triumph in Brazil surely trumps that achievement but was there a standout player in the ultimate example of a team? Thomas Muller would perhaps be the one.
But you can’t really look further than CR7 can you? While the best footballer ever, Leo Messi, looks to be in very gradual decline, Ronaldo looks stronger, fitter and smarter than ever. He’s scored 21 goals already this season and looks at the peak of his considerable powers.
Ballon d’Or Shortlist
Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Diego Costa (Atlético Madrid/Chelsea), Thibaut Courtois (Atlético Madrid/Chelsea), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Ángel Di María (Real Madrid/Manchester United), Mario Götze (Bayern Munich), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (PSG), Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona), Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich/Real Madrid), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Thomas Müller (Bayern Munich), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Neymar (Barcelona), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich), James Rodríguez (Monaco/Real Madrid), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Yaya Touré (Manchester City).