FIFA have turned a few heads and got some tongues wagging by revealing their 23-strong shortlist for this year’s Ballon d’Or.

The prestigious award was first introduced as the European Footballer of the Year award in 1956, and has since been extended to include players from all around the world. In 2010, the award merged with the FIFA World Player of the year to become the FIFA Ballon d’Or, and today the award attracts media attention all over the world as well as bets from those who have a keen eye on the footballing talent we have today.

Previous winners in recent years include Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who is favourite with Coral to take the title for the second year running this year.

Despite Lionel Messi’s domination of the FIFA Ballon d’Or in its most recent format since 2009, all eyes are on Cristiano Ronaldo for this year, who has had an outstanding year in football.

The Real Madrid striker has achieved many accolades in the last 12 months – he was the top scorer in the Spanish league last season, and at present, continues to be the top scorer thus far this season, averaging two goals per game. What’s more, looking back at the Champions League season last year, Ronaldo managed an essential goal in the final against Atlético Madrid, securing the Real Madrid Champions League victory. More recently, in the team’s recent pairing with Barcelona, Ronaldo scored the equalising penalty.

But while Ronaldo may be the favourite, there are other world class footballers who have attracted headlines for all the wrong reasons. Luis Suárez, who had an unstoppable season with Liverpool last year, has notably been snubbed in the recent FIFA shortlist.

Back in July, the Uruguayan striker was given a four month ban after biting Giorgio Chiellini during Uruguay’s clash with Italy. Having been awarded the ban by FIFA, it was only fitting that Suárez should not make the FIFA Ballon d’Or, but there are those who disagree with the association’s choice.

Steven Gerrard, former Liverpool team mate to Suárez, said of the snub: “I can’t believe it but that’s politics in football isn’t it? He scored 31 goals and was top scorer and voted best player in the hardest league in the world. So you tell me how he’s not on the Ballon D’Or list?”

With Ronaldo’s sterling year however, it’s doubtful that Suárez would have taken the title if he had been included. You can check out the full shortlist for last year’s Ballon d’Or here.