By Andah John
Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez is the only African on the 23-man shortlist for men’s player of the year at Fifa’s inaugural ”The Best” awards.
The Best comes after France Football magazine reintroduced its Ballon d’Or award. The award had merged with Fifa’s equivalent in 2010.
And the Leicester City midfielder was shortlisted following the Foxes’ fairytale title feat in the Premier League.
Mahrez is not the only member of the title-winning squad nominated as Jamie Vardy and N’Golo Kante, now at Chelsea, have been recognised.
Seven more Premier League stars
Meanwhile, seven other Premier League players from four clubs made the cut. They are Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bryne.
City rivals Manchester United have Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba on the list. But both players were judged based on their performances with Paris St-Germain and Juventus respectively; while London sides Arsenal and West Ham are represented by Alexis Sánchez, Mesut Özil, and Dimitri Payet.
The usual suspects
Spain’s Primera División has 10 representatives. The usual suspects Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale of Real Madrid, and Luis Suárez and Neymar of Barcelona are mentioned, not forgetting reigning World Best Player, Lionel Messi.
Veteran Juventus goaltender Gianluigi Buffon has made the list. Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer is also there. The German was recognised alongside teammate Robert Lewandowski.
The shortlist was drawn up by representatives of Fifa’s football committee and the winner will be announced at a ceremony in Zurich on 9 January.
Half the votes for the award will come from managers and captains of national teams, with the other 50% split between an online public ballot and submissions from more than 200 media representatives around the world.
Sergio Agüero (Argentina/Manchester City)
Gareth Bale (Wales/Real Madrid)
Gianluigi Buffon (Italy/Juventus)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Real Madrid)
Kevin De Bruyne(Belgium/Manchester City)
Antoine Griezmann (France/Atlético Madrid)
Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden/Paris Saint-Germain/Manchester United)
Andrés Iniesta(Spain/FC Barcelona)
N’Golo Kanté (France/Leicester City/Chelsea)
Toni Kroos(Germany/Real Madrid)
Robert Lewandowski (Poland/FC Bayern Munich)
Riyad Mahrez (Algeria/Leicester City)
Lionel Messi (Argentina/FC Barcelona)
Luka Modrić(Croatia/Real Madrid)
Manuel Neuer (Germany/FC Bayern Munich)
Neymar (Brazil/FC Barcelona)
Mesut Özil (Germany/Arsenal)
Dimitri Payet (France/West Ham United)
Paul Pogba (France/Juventus/Manchester United)
Sergio Ramos (Spain/Real Madrid)
Alexis Sánchez (Chile/Arsenal)
Luis Suárez (Uruguay/FC Barcelona)
Jamie Vardy(England/Leicester City)