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Ballon d'Or: 'Disgraceful' Suarez omitted from key award for bite

updated 10:18 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
Gareth Bale -- Real Madrid/Wales. Gareth Bale -- Real Madrid/Wales.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The 23-name longlist for the Ballon d'Or has been revealed
  • Cristiano Ronaldo won the title last year
  • List will be whittled down to three names by December 1
  • Winner set to be announced on January 12

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- Has the world of football bitten back?

One of the game's most controversial characters, Luis Suarez, has been left off the 23-man longlist for the prestigious Ballon d'Or for "disgracing himself on the pitch."

The award, which is voted for by coaches and captains of national teams and journalists across the world selected by France Football Magazine, will be awarded in Zurich, Switzerland, on January 12.

While the likes of holder Cristiano Ronaldo and four-time winner Lionel Messi are up for the gong, Suarez's name is nowhere to be seen, despite the former Liverpool striker jointly winning the Golden Boot with the Real Madrid forward.

Barcelona's Suarez returned to action in last weekend's El Clasico against Real Madrid after completing his four-month ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini during Uruguay's World Cup clash with Italy.

Football's bad boy has paid the price for his behavior according to Philippe Auclair, the London-based correspondent for France Football Magazine.

"The criteria used for the selection of the longlist of Ballon d'Or contenders by France Football and FIFA are very clear," Auclair told CNN.

"A player who has disgraced himself on the pitch as Suarez has, cannot and will not be included, regardless of his achievements throughout the calendar year.

"In short, under no circumstances could the Uruguayan be considered for the award. I think that this is clear enough."

Suarez joined the Catalan club for a transfer fee reported to be in the region of £75 million ($128.5 million) following a sensational season with Liverpool.

The 27-year-old scored 31 goals for Liverpool with the team just missing out on the English Premier League title, although it did qualify for the Champions League for the first time in four seasons.

Suarez's snub looks to have come following his bite on Chiellini -- the third time he has committed such an offense during his career.

Tony Barrett, football writer for the Times newspaper who watched Suarez on a weekly basis during his time at Liverpool, says the forward can only blame himself for his absence from the list of nominees.

"On the basis of his outstanding form last season, Luis Suarez's omission from the nominees for the Ballon d'Or is staggering," Barrett told CNN.

"By common consensus, the forward was among world football's best performing players as he inspired a wholly unexpected title challenge from Liverpool.

"In terms of form, ability and performance levels, any list of the world's top players over the last 12 months which does not include Suarez will inevitably provoke debate and, in some cases, shock.

"The only conclusion to be drawn is that his bite on Chiellini cost him inclusion and, as ever, Suarez has only himself to blame for this.

"Regardless of that, his standing as a player has already been reflected in more meaningful fashion by the fact that Barcelona were willing to pay £75 million to sign him."

While the debate over Suarez continues to rage, Ronaldo and Messi are likely to go head-to-head once again, while there are several other candidates who will fancy their chances.

Brazil and Barcelona star Neymar is on the list alongside the likes of Real Madrid quartet Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, James Rodriguez and Sergio Ramos

Bayern Munich and Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer enjoyed a fine year, helping his club win the league title before lifting the World Cup in Brazil.

Neuer's Bayern teammate, Arjen Robben, who helped the Netherlands qualify for the semifinals in Brazil, is also in with a shout.

Bayern captain Phillip Lahm is on the list alongside teammate Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Gotze, the man who scored the winner in the World Cup final.

Five players from England's Premier League have been nominated including Manchester City's Yaya Toure, Manchester United's Angel Di Maria and the Chelsea trio of Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

France and Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba is the sole representative from Serie A, while Ligue 1 is boosted by the presence of Paris Saint-Germain and Sweden forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

In the managerial stakes, 10 nominees have been named including Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho -- despite his failure to win a trophy last season.

Joachim Low, the man who led Germany to victory at the World Cup will be one of the favorites to be named as coach of the year.

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti, who led his club to Champions League glory last term, is joined by Pep Guardiola of Bayern Munich, Manuel Pellegrini of Manchester City and Diego Simeone, who presided over Atletico Madrid's title win in Spain last season.

There is also room for Alejandro Sabella, who took Argentina to the World Cup final, Louis van Gaal of Manchester United, Antonio Conte of Italy and Jurgen Klinsmann, coach of Team USA.

Read: Is Suarez Public Enemy No.1?

Read: Sympathy for the 'devil'?

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