FIFA have confirmed that Alexis Sanchez has made the 23-man shortlist for the 2015 Ballon d’Or after catching the eye of ‘football experts’ over the last twelve months.
It has been quite the year for the Chilean who not only secured an FA Cup medal and scored the winning shootout penalty in the Copa America final, but also played a lot with his dogs Humber and Atom on Instagram and kicked footballs very hard into nets across the globe. We like him; he’s a phenomenal physical specimen.
The winner of the gong – 99% likely to be either Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo because Arsenal fans can’t vote – will be announced via video link by Sepp Blatter in mid-January with the victor expected to pick up the trophy from the Swiss’ skull-shaped island lair in the Pacific.
Arsene Wenger is also up for World Coach of the Year. It isn’t all good news for the Gunners camp as David Ospina, who’d been included on the Ballon d’Or 59-man longlist, didn’t make the cut. A fucking shambles if you ask us.
Tonight’s opponents, Bayern Munich, have five men on the shortlist. *Gulp*
23-man shortlist for the 2015 Ballon d’Or
Sergio Agüero (Argentina/Manchester City)
Gareth Bale (Wales/Real Madrid)
Karim Benzema (France/Real Madrid)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Real Madrid)
Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium/VfL Wolfsburg/Manchester City)
Eden Hazard (Belgium/Chelsea)
Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden/Paris Saint-Germain)
Andrés Iniesta (Spain/FC Barcelona)
Toni Kroos (Germany/Real Madrid)
Robert Lewandowski (Poland/FC Bayern Munich)
Javier Mascherano (Argentina/FC Barcelona)
Lionel Messi (Argentina/FC Barcelona)
Thomas Müller (Germany/FC Bayern Munich)
Manuel Neuer (Germany/FC Bayern Munich)
Neymar (Brazil/FC Barcelona)
Paul Pogba (France/Juventus)
Ivan Rakitić (Croatia/FC Barcelona)
Arjen Robben (Netherlands/FC Bayern Munich)
James Rodríguez (Colombia/Real Madrid)
Alexis Sánchez (Chile/Arsenal)
Luis Suárez (Uruguay/FC Barcelona)
Yaya Touré (Côte d’Ivoire/Manchester City)
Arturo Vidal (Chile/Juventus/FC Bayern Munich)
10-man shortlist for World Coach of the Year
Massimiliano Allegri (Italy/Juventus)
Carlo Ancelotti (Italy/Real Madrid)
Laurent Blanc (France/Paris Saint-Germain)
Unai Emery (Spain/Sevilla FC)
Pep Guardiola (Spain/FC Bayern Munich)
Luis Enrique Martínez (Spain/FC Barcelona)
José Mourinho (Portugal/Chelsea)
Jorge Sampaoli (Argentina/Chilean national team)
Diego Simeone (Argentina/Atlético Madrid)
Arsène Wenger (France/Arsenal).