Four Africans are among the 50 nominees for the 2006 European Footballer of the Year award.
Injury has ruled out Eto'o for several months
The list of nominees for the prestigious Ballon d'or was published on Tuesday by France Football magazine.
Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o, Didier Drogba of the Ivory Coast, Ghana's Michael Essien, and Mali midfield enforcer Mahamadou Diarra have all been shortlisted.
Eto'o is currently sidelined by a knee injury and is not expected to play again for Spanish giants Barcelona until next year.
The winner will be decided by a panel of European journalists and unveiled on Monday 27 November.
Barcelona playmaker Ronaldinho won last year with 225
points, followed by Chelsea's Frank Lampard and
Liverpool's Steven Gerrard.
Other big-name nominees include goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon of Juventus, Andriy Shevchenko of Chelsea, AC Milan's Brazilian star Kaka and former France captain Zinedine Zidane.
Liberian legend George Weah is the only African to have won the most coveted individual award in European football.
In 1995, Weah was named World, African and European Footballer of the Year.