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Home » Sport » Football

Bale in Ballon D'Or contention

Gareth Bale is the only Brit in the running for this year's Ballon D'Or - but three Manchester City players are among five Premier League stars also in contention. 

Bale has played a vital role in helping Wales qualify for a major finals tournament for the first time since 1958, scoring seven goals in their successful European Qualifiers campaign.

He has attracted some criticism from some Real Madrid fans in recent months and has only scored twice for them this season, with both goals coming in a 5-0 win against Real Betis in August.

Bale has still played an important role for the Spanish giants, however, and struck 17 times for them last term.

The attacker is joined on the 23-man shortlist by five Premier League stars, with Sergio Aguero one of three who hail from the Etihad Stadium.

He was the competition's top scorer last season with 26 goals and has eight more this term including five against Newcastle at the start of the month.

Aguero is included among the candidates along with his team-mate Yaya Toure, a scorer 13 times for his club and country Ivory Coast in 2014/15.

New signing Kevin De Bruyne - who has made a stunning start to his time at City - is also on the shortlist, largely for the work he did at previous club Wolfsburg.

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez is on the list and he has arguably been the star turn in the division so far this season.

Chelsea forward Eden Hazard, last term's PFA Player of the Year, is the final player of the English-based quintet.

There aren't many surprises among the other contenders, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, Neymar, Robert Lewandowski and Luis Suarez all named.

Karim Benzema, Andres Iniesta, Toni Kroos, Javier Mascherano, Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer, Ivan Rakitic, Arjen Robben, James Rodriguez and Arturo Vidal complete the selection.

Jose Mourinho has had a difficult start to Chelsea's title defence but he is a nominee for the manager's award after their emphatic Premier League win last season.

Arsenal's Arsene Wenger is also included on the 10-man shortlist with the likes of Carlo Ancelotti, Laurent Blanc, Pep Guardiola, Luis Enrique and Diego Simeone.

Chile boss Jorge Sampaoli, Massimiliano Allegri and Unai Emery are the final three names shortlisted and the winners will be announced in Zurich on January 11.

Voting will run from next Monday until November 20, with the captain and manager of each international football team having a vote.

International media representatives selected by France Football will also be involved in the process, with a final three-man shortlist to be announced on November 30.

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