Five Manchester City players, including two of the new summer recruits, have made FIFA's 59-man list of nominees for the Ballon d'Or. The leaked initial list will be stripped down to just a 23-player shortlist later in the year.
Longlist includes familiar and fresh faces alike
Sergio Agüero recieved the nomination after winning the Golden Boot last season and scored a total of 32 goals for the club, despite then being omitted from the PFA Team of the Year. Yaya Touré, the only Blue to make the shortlist last time around, had a disappointing season by his high standards but still weighed in with 12 goals from the midfield and continues to be a huge presence in the City squad. Perhaps the most surprising inclusion is Wilfried Bony, whose career in Manchester is yet to take off. However, the Ivorian enjoyed a successful first half of the season at Swansea, with his time at his new club interrupted by international duty and persistent injuries.
Two of the new faces at the club are also in the running, with Kevin de Bruyne and Nicolas Otámendi receiving praise for their efforts for their former clubs in VfL Wolfsburg and Valencia respectively. De Bruyne managed an incredible ten goals and twenty assists in the Bundesliga last term, with a further five goals and assists in the Europa League. In addition, the Belgian was voted by journalists as the best player in Germany last season, showing that de Bruyne fully deserves his nomination. Otamendi's form in Spain last season justify his own nomination, as the Argentinian was awarded the Man of the Match accolade more than any other player in La Liga - other than attacking duo Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. He was also instrumental in ending Real Madrid's 22-game unbeaten record, in which he scored the winner.
Notable exclusions from the list are Joe Hart and David Silva, both of whom were outstanding for City in 2014/15. Hart may feel aggrieved that he was left out after winning the Golden Glove whilst his Manchester United counterpart David de Gea is included. Silva in particular must be left wondering just what it is he has to do to make the cut after continuing to improve in Eastlands - last season was arguably his best and he still continues to develop even further as a fan favourite.
Premier League clubs are well represented
City have the highest number of players on the list out of all the English clubs, as defending champions Chelsea have four, Manchester United three, north London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham, two and Liverpool, QPR, Leicester, Swansea and Bournemouth one. This bodes well for the Premier League overall and hopefully we'll be seeing a few names from the English top flight, espacially those from City, in the shortlist when it is anounced.