Football: Gareth Bale amongst Ballon D'Or nominees

Football: Gareth Bale amongst Ballon D'Or nominees
Real Madrid's Welsh forward Gareth Bale (right) and Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (left) take part in a training session at the Valdebebas training ground in Madrid on Oct 29, 2013. New Real Madrid signing Gareth Bale joined team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo and holder Lionel Messi on the Ballon D'Or shortlist Tuesday to decide the best footballer of 2013.

PARIS - New Real Madrid signing Gareth Bale joined team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo and holder Lionel Messi on the Ballon D'Or shortlist Tuesday to decide the best footballer of 2013.

Wales winger Bale was one of 23 nominees that included Bayern Munich's France international Franck Ribery, Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Manchester United forward Robin van Persie.

Messi has won the last four editions of the award with Ronaldo triumphing in 2008.

Those two and winger Ribery, whose club side won the treble of Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup last season, are widely considered the leading candidates for the trophy.

Bayern are the most represented club in the list with six nominees.

"It's confirmation that the team has accomplished something exceptional," said club chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge on the Bayern website.

"Bayern are delighted and proud. There's no doubt that the club has reached the highest point in our history and we'd be very proud if one of our players took home the trophy." The German league has the most nominations with seven - Borussia Dortmund's Poland forward Robert Lewandowski joining the Bayern contingent - followed by Spain with six, England five, France four and Italy one in the figure of Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo.

No-one playing their club football outside Europe got picked.

Players from 15 different nationalities were nominated with Germany - who have five including Arsenal's Mesut Ozil - the only country to have more than two.

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