The six nominations in seven categories for this year's Laureus World Sports Awards have been revealed following a ballot by the world's media.
Among those who could follow in the footsteps of such sporting greats as Usain Bolt, Sebastian Coe, Roger Federer, Alex Ferguson, Lewis Hamilton, Kelly Holmes, Pelé, Steve Redgrave, Ronaldo and Michael Schumacher as previous winners are Cristiano Ronaldo, Lewis Hamilton, Rory McIlroy and Novak Djokovic, who feature on the ultra-competitive Laureus Sportsman of the Year Award shortlist.
Portugal and Real Madrid's Ronaldo will once again be trying to become the first team player to win the individual award, but he will have to fend off the challenge of British formula one driver Hamilton and golfer McIlroy, Serbia's tennis world number one Djokovic, Spain's World MotoGP champion Marc Márquez and Renaud Lavillenie, the French pole vaulter who broke Sergey Bubka's 21-year-old world record.
The Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award shortlist looks equally competitive, with the likes of American tennis star Serena Williams, who will be hoping for her record-equalling fourth Laureus Award, China's Li Na, who is also a tennis player, Winter Olympic gold medallists Slovenian Alpine skier Tina Maze and Norwegian cross country skier Marit Bjørgen, New Zealand's shot putter Valerie Adams and Ethiopian runner Genzebe Dibaba all vying for the title.
American wheelchair racer Tatyana McFadden, who won the marathon grand slam of Boston, Chicago, London and New York for the second straight year, is shortlisted for the second straight year for the World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award.
The American will be hoping to top her challengers, namely Russian Roman Petushkov, the first athlete to win six gold medals at the Winter Paralympics, German Anna Schaffelhuber, winner of all five Alpine gold medals at Sochi 2014, Canadian cyclist Shelley Gautier, British cyclist Dame Sarah Storey and Hong Kong boccia star Yuk Wing Leung, for the title.
The Laureus Team of the Year Award shortlist has produced the ultimate football showdown, with the German FIFA World Cup team versus Real Madrid, winners of a tenth Champions League, nominated alongside the European Ryder Cup team, the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One team, basketball's San Antonio Spurs and Switzerland's Davis Cup Team, which is also nominated for the World Breakthrough of the Year Award.
Football also features heavily in the Breakthrough category where Germany's Mario Götze, who scored the winning goal in the World Cup final, and Colombia's James Rodríguez, winner of the Golden Boot as leading scorer, are both nominated.
Meanwhile, nominees for World Comeback of the Year Award include Schalk Burger, who returned to South African rugby after recovering from meningitis, and Italian footballer Francesco Acerbi, who beat testicular cancer.
The Action Sportsperson of the Year Award sees Australian six-time world surfing champion Stephanie Gilmore aiming to win her second title, alongside Gabriel Medina, Brazil's first ever men's surfing world champion, and American skateboarder Nyjah Huston.
The winners, as voted by the Laureus World Sports Academy - made up of 50 of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time, is due to be unveiled at a globally televised Awards Ceremony in the Grand Theatre, Shanghai on April 15.
"This is going to be yet another classic year," double Olympic champion Edwin Moses, chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy, said.
"Each year we think the list of nominees cannot get better, but then it does.
"The Sportsman of the Year and Team of the Year categories look amazing.
"You could make a case for every nominee to be the winner.
"And I think the Disability category is probably the strongest list of athletes I have ever seen over the 16 years of Laureus.
"It's going to an exciting night in Shanghai discovering which of these great athletes will receive Laureus Awards."
For a full list of nominations click here.
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