Zurich [Switzerland] : Real Madrid star striker Cristiano Ronaldo will hope to clinch the Best FIFA Men’s Player 2017 award for the second time after being named among the 24-man shortlisted candidates for this year’s coveted prize.
Ronaldo, who bagged the inaugural gong last year, is a front-runner to clinch the 2017 award after inspiring Zinedine Zidane‘s side to the Champions League glory and Portugal to the European Championship 2016 Trophy, reports goal.com.
The Portuguese will face tough competition from his long-time Barcelona rival Lionel Messi, who inspired his side to Copa del Rey glory besides also finishing up as La Liga’s top scorer with 37 goals —12 ahead of the Real Madrid star.
Neymar, who has recently been brought by the Paris Saint Germain (PSG) for a record-shattering €222 million, has also been included in the list, which also includes the Juventus pair of Paulo Dybala and Gianluigi Buffon who have been named after impressive performances en route to their Champions League final.
The most surprising name in the shortlisted candidates is that of Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta, who has been nominated for the coveted award despite being restricted to just 13 starts in La Liga last season due to injury problems.
Though Tottenham have had a disappointing season after failing to clinch a trophy, striker Harry Kane has been added to the list after finishing as Premier League top-scorer for the second campaign in a row.
The full list of Best FIFA men’s player nominees are as follows:
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund), Leonardo Bonucci (AC Milan, Juventus in 2016-17), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Free agent, Manchester United in 2016-17), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Harry Kane (Tottenham), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Luka Modric (Real Madrid) , Keylor Navas (Real Madrid), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona in 2016-17), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), Luis Suarez (Barcelona), Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich).