FIFA and FIFPro have released a shortlist of five goalkeepers in contention for the No. 1 jersey in the 2014 World XI.
Real Madrid and Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas, Chelsea and Belgium Thibaut Courtois, Bayern Munich and German World Cup winner Manuel Neuer, Barcelona FC’s Claudio Bravo, who guarded the post for Chile, and Juventus and Italy shot stopper, Gianluigi Buffon, have been nominated.
The winner, voted for by 20,000 active professionals worldwide, will be unveiled on 12 January at the Ballon d’Or awards.
Courtois makes the list after helping Atletico Madrid to the Spanish La Liga title last season during his loan spell, followed by an impressive performance at the 2014 World Cup with Belgium.
As well as winning the World Cup with Germany in Brazil, Neuer also won the domestic double with Bayern.
Buffon made 89 saves and kept 18 clean sheets in 33 appearances as Juventus claim a third successive Serie A title last season, conceding 19 goals. Italy however failed to reach the knockout stage of the 2014 World Cup, with Buffon making two appearances, including Man of the Match performance against Uruguay. He was unbeaten for 616 minutes this season before finally conceding against Roma in the sixth round of Serie A matches on October 5.
Casillas, who had made successive appearances from 2008- 2012, is the surprise inclusion for 2014. He only made two La Liga appearances in 2013-14 and a further 10 this season.
The 33-year-old lifted the Champions League with Real Madrid in May, but was faulted for at least one goal in each of Spain’s defeats during the group stages of the 2014 World Cup, as his country exited the group stage without a win.
The shortlists for the midfielders and forwards will be announced subsequently.