A couple of weeks after the 53-man preliminary long-list was leaked, FIFA have found the time to whittle down their Ballon d’Or short-list to just 23 hopefuls.
Five Premier League players have made the grade with Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, Yaya Toure, Eden Hazard and Alexis Sanchez all in the mix, while Gareth Bale constitutes the only British entrant this time round.
You may not be surprised to learn that Lionel Messi and incumbent winner Cristiano Ronaldo have also made the grade.
FIFA Ballon d’Or shortlist in full…
Sergio Aguero (Argentina/Man City), Gareth Bale (Wales/Real Madrid), Karim Benzema (France/Real Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Real Madrid), Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium/Man City), Eden Hazard (Belgium/Chelsea), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden/PSG), Andres Iniesta (Spain/Barcelona), Toni Kroos (Germany/Real Madrid), Robert Lewandowski (Poland/Bayern Munich), Javier Mascherano (Argentina/Barcelona), Lionel Messi (Argentina/Barcelona), Thomas Muller (Germany/Bayern Munich), Manuel Neuer (Germany/Bayern Munich), Neymar (Brazil/Barcelona), Paul Pogba (France/Juventus), Ivan Rakitic (Croatia/Barcelona), Arjen Robben (Netherlands/Bayern Munich), James Rodriguez (Colombia/Real Madrid), Alexis Sanchez (Chile/Arsenal), Luis Suarez (Uruguay/Barcelona), Yaya Toure (Côte d’Ivoire/Man City), Arturo Vidal (Chile/Bayern Munich).
The list will be whittled down again to just three finalists (we’re guessing messrs Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar) in December, with the award gala scheduled to take place in Zurich in January 2016.
Elsewhere, the FIFA World Coach of the Year award will be contested by Massimiliano Allegri (Juventus), Carlo Ancelotti (Real Madrid), Laurent Blanc (PSG), Unai Emery (Sevilla), Pep Guardiola (Bayern Munich), Luis Enrique (Barcelona), Jose Mourinho (Chelsea), Jorge Sampaoli (Chilean national team), Diego Simeone (Atletico Madrid) and Arsene Wenger (Arsenal).