Germany dominated the FIFA Player of the Year shortlist, with six nominees among the 23 candidates, while the 10-man coaching shortlist was full of anomalies and controversy.
Player of the Year
Mario Goetze (Germany), Toni Kroos (Germany), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Thomas Mueller (Germany), Manuel Neuer (Germany), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), Angel Di Maria (Argentina) Javier Mascherano (Argentina), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Sergio Ramos (Spain), Diego Costa (Spain), Karim Benzema (France), Paul Pogba (France), Gareth Bale (Wales), Eden Hazard (Belgium), Thibaut Courtois (Belgium), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden), Neymar (Brazil), Arjen Robben (Netherlands), James Rodriguez (Colombia), Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast),
Coach of the Year
Carlo Ancelotti (Real Madrid), Antonio Conte (Italy/Juventus FC), Pep Guardiola (Bayern Munich), Juergen Klinsmann (USA) Joachim Loew (Germany), Jose Mourinho (Chelsea), Manuel Pellegrini (Manchester City), Alejandro Sabella (Argentina), Diego Simeone (Argentina), Louis van Gaal (Netherlands)
Juergen Klinsmann was included among the coaches after leading United States to the last-16 of the World Cup but Jorge Luis Pinto and Jose Pekerman, who took Costa Rica and Colombia respectively to the quarter-finals, were overlooked.
There was room for Bayern Munich’s Pep Guardiola, even though his team’s most important match of the year, a Champions League semi-final at home to Real Madrid, ended in a 4-0 defeat.
The players’ list showed similar anomalies and appeared to be based more on European club football than FIFA’s flagship tournament.
Manuel Neuer, Thomas Mueller, Toni Kroos, Mario Goetze, Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger were six players from world champions Germany to be included and beaten finalists Argentina had three, Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria and Javier Mascherano.
Last year’s winner Cristiano Ronaldo was duly named along with Real Madrid teammates Gareth Bale (Wales) and James Rodriguez (Colombia).
Manchester City and Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure was the only African player short-listed, Neymar was Brazil’s sole representative, and there were none at all from CONCACAF region or Asia.
Notable absentees included United States goalkeeper Tim Howard and Costa Rica stopper Keylor Navas, both outstanding in Brazil, and Costa Rica defender Giancarlo Gonzalez, who many critics saw as one of the tournament’s most influential players.
FIFA, who organise the award jointly with France Football, said the final three candidates for both awards, officially known as the Ballon d’Or, would be announced on December 1 with the award ceremony in Zurich on January 12.