By Cypher Kwaku
Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo and Roberto Carlos have been nominated among the 40 goalkeeping and defensive candidates published on Monday.
With no Balon d’Or awards this year, France Football have announced that it will alternatively select the greatest XI in history, with a total of 10 nominees in each position.
The first set of 40 nominees for the Balon d’Or Dream Team – goalkeeper, right back, left back and centre back – have been released this Monday, 5 October, with midfielder nominees to be published on Monday, 12 October, followed by the forwards a week later.
The 170 journalists who regularly vote for the Ballon d’Or, including AS honorary president Alfredo Relaño, will be tasked with choosing the final XI, with the prestigous selection to be announced on 17 December.
Casillas named among keepers
Four former and current Real Madrid legends have already been nominated. Firstly, Iker Casillas has been named among the 10 goalkeeping nominees, along with Gordon Banks, Gianluigi Buffon, Sepp Maier, Manuel Neuer, Thomas Nkono, Peter Schmeichel, Edwin Van der Sar, Lev Yashin and Dino Zoff.
“It is an honour to be part of this list for the Balon d’Or Dream Team,” tweeted Casillas, who has been recognized for his triumphant career with Real Madrid and the Spanish national team.
Ramos and Marcelo among defensive nominees
Casillas’ former Spain and Madrid team mate, and current Blancos captain, Sergio Ramos, has been nominated as one of the 10 centre back candidates, with the other nine contenders being Franco Baresi, Franz Beckenbauer, Marcel Desailly, Ronald Koeman, Bobby Moore, Daniel Pasarella, Matthias Sammer, Fabio Cannavaro and Gaetano Scirea. Ramos faces some stiff competition but is surely in with a chance.
Meanwhile, current Madrid left back Marcelo and his Bernabéu predecessor and compatriot Roberto Carlos were among the 10 left back nominees, along with Andreas Brehme, Paul Breitner, Antonio Cabrini, Giacinto Facchetti, Junior, Ruud Krol, Paolo Maldini, and Nilton Santos.
*Of the ten right back candidates –* Giuseppe Bergomi, Cafú, Carlos Alberto, Djalma Santos, Claudio Gentile, Manfred Kaltz, Philipp Lahm, Wim Suurbier, Lilian Thuram and Berti Vogt – the Brazilians will be the clear favourites, although Dani Alves is a notable absentee.
On October 12, the 20 defensive midfielders and the 20 offensive midfielders will be announced, followed by the 10 left-sided forward, 10 right-sided forward and 10 centre forwards on 19 December. We are likely to see a few more Real Madrid representatives, with Cristiano Ronaldo being a certainty.