Ballon d’Or: Gareth Bale is the only UK player in the shortlist

FIFA has recently announced the shortlist of contenders for 2014’s installment of the Ballon d’Or awards. The list features a total of 23 players from around the world. The only player from the UK to feature on the list of nominees is Wales forward Gareth Bale.

The 25-year-old player has scored a total of 22 goals last season, playing for Real Madrid. Other Premier League players to have been nominated for the award are Diego Costa, Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard, Yaya Toure and Angel Di Maria.

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo is set to be gunning to retain the reward he received last year. While forward player from Barcelona, Lionel Messi would be hoping to win the Ballon d’Or for a total of five times in his career. His Barcelona teammate Neymar also figures in the shortlist.

By December 2014, the list of 23 players will be taken down to three until the winner is officially announced in Zurich in January 2015. This year, for the second consecutive years, the shortlist does not contain the name of any player from England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The last player from England to be nominated was Wayne Rooney in 2012. Gareth Bale’s this year nomination is the second one in a row.

The 27-year-old Barcelona striker Luis Suarez is absent from this year’s shortlist. This could be expected as the player was suspended for four months this year during the World Cup. As per FIFA rules this suspension means that the player would not be eligible to the Ballon d’Or.