Ronaldo, Neymar and Messi vie for top spot

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Ronaldo, Neymar and Messi vie for top spot

ZURICH - Cristiano Ronaldo, the injured Lionel Messi and Neymar lead FIFA’s 23-player list of nominees for this year’s Ballon d’Or Award announced early Wednesday for the men’s player of the year.

The list of nominees will be shortened to the final three contenders for the Ballon d’Or Award on Nov. 30 with Barcelona’s Messi and Real Madrid’s Ronaldo almost certain to make the cut.

With Messi out injured, Brazil striker Neymar -- who made his fifth consecutive 23-player list -- has taken over the spotlight at Barcelona and is looking to prove he has what it takes to finally make the three-player shortlist.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, who was last week handed a 50,000-pound ($77,400) fine and a suspended one-match stadium ban by England’s Football Association, was included in the list of 10 nominees for World Coach of the Year.

The winners of Ballon d’Or and Coach of the Year will be announced Jan. 11.

Messi of Argentina and Portugal’s Ronaldo have shared the Ballon d’Or between themselves since 2008, with Messi claiming four and Ronaldo three, including the 2013 and 2014 awards.

Mourinho was sanctioned for remarks that “constituted improper conduct’’ as they implied bias and brought the game into disrepute. He was given a one-game stadium ban for accusing referees of being biased against his team. AP

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