Ballon d'Or 2014: The full 23-man shortlist featuring Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Gareth Bale, Angel Di Maria and Diego Costa

Ronaldo may be the favourite to take the crown for a second straight year, but the list reads a who's who of world football

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The Independent Online

Cristiano Ronaldo is the bookmakers' favourite to win the 2014 Ballon d'Or award for a second straight year after the 23-man shortlist was named on Tuesday morning by Fifa.

Ronaldo, who was also crowned the best player in the world in 2008, has enjoyed an incredible year that saw him win the Champions League and Copa del Rey trophies with Real Madrid. But who could challenge Ronaldo for the award?

Five of his current team-mates join him on the list with Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos, Toni Kroos, James Rodriguez and most notably Gareth Bale included, with the £86m signing the only British player to gain recognition this year.

Real's fierce rivals Barcelona are well represented with four-time winner Lionel Messi joined by Neymar, Andres Iniesta and Javier Mascherano, but Luis Suarez is controversially omitted from the shortlist.

World Cup winners' Germany have six players on the list as Kroos is joined by Philipp Lahm, Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer, Bastian Schweinsteiger and World Cup final hero Mario Gotze.

The Premier League may not have an Englishman to boast of, but at least five of it's foreign stars have been named as Diego Costa, Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois of Chelsea are joined by Angel Di Maria and Yaya Toure of Manchester United and Manchester City respectively.

Click on the gallery below to see the full 23-man shortlist for the 2014 Fifa Ballon d'Or.

 

Who do you think deserves to be in the top-three, which will be announced on the 1 December? Leave your thoughts in the comment box below.

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