Ballon d'Or: Ronaldo a shoo-in as Suarez and Ribery left out
Spain and Germany dominate shortlist with no English or Italian players and Ronaldo odds-on to win
The shortlist for the Fifa Ballon d'Or award has been released, and once again there are no English players among the 23 stars vying for the title of the world's greatest footballer.
The lack of English players may not come as a surprise, but equally worrying is the lack of British-based players. Only five of the 23 ply their trade in the Premier League, and only two of them were playing in England last season.
Three of the five – Diego Costa, Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard – play for Chelsea. The others are Angel di Maria of Manchester United and Manchester City's captain Yaya Toure.
Welsh winger Gareth Bale is included in the list for the second year running after an impressive debut season for Real Madrid.
Germany has the most nominees with six members of its World Cup-winning squad on the list. The list also includes three members of the team they beat, Argentina, and another three from Spain, despite their awful campaign.
Almost half of the nominated players, 10, currently play in Spain, and 13 have played in Spain at some point this year. Six of the 23 are Real Madrid players and six play in Germany, all of them for Bayern Munich.
The list may be dominated by Spanish and German teams and players but England has fared better than Italy. There are no Italians on the list and only one player from Serie A, Paul Pogba of Juventus.
Notably absent from the list are Luis Suarez, who only returned to action last weekend after his ban for biting, and Franck Ribery, who was third in the voting last year.
In reality the winner will, yet again, be either last year's winner Cristiano Ronaldo or the man who won the previous three awards, Lionel Messi. But Argentine Messi had a relatively subdued season and Ronaldo has already been installed as massive odds-on favourite and seems certain to retain his title.
Ballon d'Or shortlist:
Gareth Bale, Wales, Real Madrid
Karim Benzema, France, Real Madrid
Diego Costa, Spain, Chelsea
Thibaut Courtois, Belgium, Chelsea
Angel di Maria, Argentina, Manchester United
Mario Gotze, Germany, Bayern Munich
Eden Hazard, Belgium, Chelsea
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden, Paris Saint-Germain
Andres Iniesta, Spain, Barcelona
Toni Kroos, Germany, Real Madrid
Philipp Lahm, Germany, 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
Sergio Ramos, Spain, Real Madrid
Arjen Robben, Netherlands, Bayern Munich
James Rodriguez, Colombia, Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal, Real Madrid
Bastian Schweinsteiger, Germany, Bayern Munich
Yaya Toure, Ivory Coast, Manchester City