FIFA has announced its list of 23 nominees for its first “The Best” award for men’s player of the year.
Soccer’s governing body broke from France Football and the Ballon d’Or this year, and will be awarding its own trophy as part of a new awards group.
Premier League stars Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, N'Golo Kante, Riyad Mahrez, Mesut Ozil, Dimitri Payet, Paul Pogba, and Jamie Vardy make the attack-heavy list (though Ibrahimovic and Pogba played last season in France and Italy).
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Juventus’ Gianluigi Buffon and Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer are the only goalkeepers on the list, while Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid is the only out-and-out defender.
Sanchez and Kante were both omitted from the 30-man Ballon d’Or list.
Shortlisted players for FIFA’s “The Best” men’s player of 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/Atletico Madrid)
Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden/Paris Saint-Germain/Manchester United)
Andrés Iniesta (Spain/Barcelona)
N’Golo Kanté (France/Leicester City/Chelsea)
Toni Kroos (Germany/Real Madrid)
Robert Lewandowski (Poland/Bayern Munich)
Riyad Mahrez (Algeria/Leicester City)
Lionel Messi (Argentina/Barcelona)
Luka Modrić (Croatia/Real Madrid)
Manuel Neuer (Germany/Bayern Munich)
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/Barcelona)
Jamie Vardy (England/Leicester City)