I suppose it's the thought that counts, right? Thanks, FIFA!
From the 59 preliminary candidates, as revealed by Mundo Deportivo at the beginning of this month, FIFA have whittled down their shortlist to just 23. By the end of next month, they will decide who the third player (and third-placed player) will be to join Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the final three-player shortlist. Hurray for all the pomp and circumstance; can we just decide which of the two gets the award this year and get on with our lives?
There were, surprisingly, five players among the initial 59. Four, Thibaut Courtois, Diego Costa, Willian, and ... ummmm ... Christian Atsu failed to make the cut. Only Eden Hazard remains. Good job, Eden! Only the best player in the England last season. I hope wherever that guy is right now, he's enjoying himself much more than we are watching his doppelgänger warm the Chelsea bench. Come back to us, soon, Real Eden Hazard!
FIFA Ballon d'Or shortlist:
Sergio Aguero (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 Ibrahimovic (Sweden/Paris Saint-Germain)
Andres 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 Muller (Germany/FC Bayern Munich)
Manuel Neuer (Germany/FC Bayern Munich)
Neymar (Brazil/FC Barcelona)
Paul Pogba (France/Juventus)
Ivan Rakitic (Croatia/FC Barcelona)
Arjen Robben (Netherlands/FC Bayern Munich)
James Rodriguez (Colombia/Real Madrid)
Alexis Sanchez (Chile/Arsenal)
Luis Suarez (Uruguay/FC Barcelona)
Yaya Toure (Côte d'Ivoire/Manchester City)
Arturo Vidal (Chile/Juventus/FC Bayern Munich)
Elsewhere in FIFA Awards land, Jose Mourinho gets a nomination for Coach of the Year (for Men's Football). This sounds impressive but then you see some of the other candidates like Ancelotti (what did he do this year?) or Wenger (FA Cup and 3rd place?) and suddenly some of the shine's taken off the thing. But hey, congrats to Luis Enrique.
FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men's Football shortlist:
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 (Spain/FC Barcelona)
Jose Mourinho (Portugal/Chelsea)
Jorge Sampaoli (Argentina/Chilean national team)
Diego Simeone (Argentina/Atletico Madrid)
Arsene Wenger (France/Arsenal).
The Women's coaching shortlist was announced earlier as well. Bafflingly, Emma Hayes of Chelsea LFC is not on it. Nor did any of Chelsea LFC's players make the women's player of the year shortlist. Thanks, FIFA.