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One United name on the Ballon d'Or shortlist

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Ángel Di María is in the running for football's most prestigious individual award.

Michael Regan

It's awards season again, folks, and there's good news for Manchester United's Ángel Di María. The versatile, adorable Argentine has made the 23-man shortlist for FIFA's Ballon d'Or. He's not going to win of course; this is the Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi show and will be forever more, but still. Well done him.

Louis van Gaal, Manchester United's manager, has also made an impression on FIFA's judges, and is one of ten managers named to the World Coach of the Year shortlist. Again, he's probably unlikely to win; the obvious frontrunners are Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone, for his Spanish title win and near-miss in the Champions League, and Germany's Jogi Low, for winning a trifling little thing called the World Cup.

Okay, so the sceptics among you might suggest that both Di María and Van Gaal have been named not for their achievements at United, but for winning the Champions League and making a splash at the World Cup respectively. But who cares. They're United's now. And how do we know that the decisive factors weren't (a) that goal against Leicester, and (b) the glorious triumph in the International Champions Cup?

Full lists here. We note with interest that Paul Pogba has made the list. Nice one, Alex.