Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has criticised what he called FIFA's political decision not to include former teammate Luis Suarez on their shortlist for this year's Ballon d'Or award as the world's best footballer.

The list, announced earlier this week, had 23 names on it, but not that of the Uruguayan striker, who was banned for four months by FIFA after biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup in June.

He only returned to football last weekend, playing in El Clasico against Real Madrid for Barcelona, whom he had joined from Liverpool for a fee the English club said was$119.93 million.

"He scored 31 goals and was voted best player in the hardest league in the world," Gerrard said in an interview with the Daily Mail.

"So you tell me how he's not on the Ballon d'Or list? Incredible. He should be fighting Cristiano Ronaldo for it. That's a fact. I can't believe it but that's politics in football isn't it?"

Liverpool have struggled so far this season without Suarez, partly because England international striker Daniel Sturridge has been out injured since the end of August and new signing Mario Balotelli has yet to score a league goal.

Source: Reuters