Champions League clubs dominate Ballon d’Or shortlists

AP Photo/Keystone, Walter Bieri
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We learned the 23 names vying for the Women’s Player of the Year Award on Tuesday, and on Wednesday we got the men’s edition.

Apparently the world’s best 23 men are limited to eight clubs across Europe, which is pretty disappointing but also reflective of the big-money culture in soccer.

[ UCL: Bale out for Madrid | No Robben for Bayern ]

Every club with a player on the list made the UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16 last season, although Man City’s Kevin De Bruyne was on Wolfsburg — not in the UCL — during last season.

Otherwise, it’s fairly straightforward. In a year without a major worldwide tournament — eight are from Copa America sides — club Goliaths rule the day.

And you’ll be sure to read a lot of this: No English players (though five hail from Premier League clubs, and Gareth Bale is from Wales).

As for the coaches, it’s a similar story excepting Sevilla boss Unai Emery, whose club won the Europa League.

Player shortlist
Barcelona: Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano, Neymar, Ivan Rakitic, Luis Suarez
Bayern Munich: Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Arjen Robben, Arturo Vidal, Manuel Neuer
Manchester City: Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, Yaya Toure
Chelsea: Eden Hazard
Juventus: Paul Pogba
Paris Saint-Germain: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Arsenal: Alexis Sanchez
Real Madrid: Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo, Toni Kroos, James Rodriguez

Coach shortlist
Massimiliano Allegri (Juventus)
Carlo Ancelotti (Real Madrid)
Laurent Blanc (Paris Saint-Germain)
Unai Emery (Sevilla)
Pep Guardiola (Bayern Munich)
Luis Enrique (Barcelona)
Jose Mourinho (Chelsea)
Jorge Sampaoli (Chile)
Diego Simeone (Atletico Madrid)
Arsene Wenger (Arsenal)