By Brian Homewood
Six players from Bayern Munich’s treble-winning team were included among the 23 nominees for the World Player of the Year award announced by FIFA on Tuesday.
Jose Mourinho was included on the shortlist for Coach of the Year despite failing to win any major trophies with Real Madrid last season, a performance the Portuguese himself described as “disastrous”.
The only British player to make the list was Wales international Gareth Bale.
African Nations Cup winning coach Stephen Keshi of Nigeria was overlooked and Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure was the only African to make either list. There were no representatives from Asia or CONCACAF.
German internationals Manuel Neuer, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Mueller and Philipp Lahm, Frenchman Franck Ribery and Dutchman Arjen Robben were the Bayern players on the list.
Joining the Bayern contingent were the usual favourites such as Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Bayern’s former coach Jupp Heynckes, since replaced by Pep Guardiola, was on the coaches list after leading his side to a Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League treble.
The omission of Bayern’s Croatian forward Mario Mandzukic was a surprise as many critics felt he had made the difference between last season and 2011/12, where Bayern were runners-up in all three competitions.
Brazil’s Luiz Felipe Scolari, whose side hosted and won the Confederations Cup in June, was the only South American to make the coaching shortlist.
Radamel Falcao, Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez, Neymar and Thiago Silva were the South American nominees for the Player of the Year award, along with Messi. All six are based in Europe.
Although several of the nominated coaches failed to win a major trophy last season, Mourinho’s nomination was the biggest surprise as his side’s results fell far short of Real Madrid’s expectations.
They finished 15 points behind Barcelona in La Liga, lost to smaller neighbours Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey final and were outclassed by Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League semi-finals.
Atletico’s Argentine coach Diego Simeone was overlooked.
“The list of 23 male candidates has been drawn up by football experts from the FIFA Football Committee and by a group of experts from France Football,” said FIFA in a statement.
It said the final decisions would be made by the captains and coaches of the national teams and international media representatives selected by France Football magazine. The ceremony takes place in Zurich on January 13.
By Brian Homewood