Soccer

Messi to retain Ballon d'Or?

2012-11-29 16:22
Lionel Messi (AFP)

Sao Paulo - Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta were on Thursday shortlisted for this year's Ballon d'Or, football's world governing body FIFA and sponsors France Football magazine said.

Barcelona forward Messi, 25, has already won the title three times and the Argentine is again the favourite to win the prize, which will be presented in Zurich on January 7 after votes from journalists, national team captains and coaches.

If he wins, he would become the first player to win the award four times, having already joined French legend and current UEFA president Michel Platini as the only players to win three straight titles.

Dutch stars Johan Cruyff and Marco Van Basten have also won three accolades.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter unveiled the shortlist at a news conference in Sao Paulo.

He also revealed that Spain's Vicente Del Bosque, Real Madrid's Jose Mourinho and former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola were on the shortlist for the title of best coach.

Shortlists by category for this year's Ballon d'Or, ahead of awards slated for January 7 in Zurich:

Best player - men: Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Argentina), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid/Spain, Andres Iniesta (Barcelona/Spain)

Best player - women: Marta (Brazil), Aby Wambach, Alex Morgan (both United States of America)

Best men's coach: Vicente del Bosque (Spain), Pep Guardiola (ex-Barcelona), Jose Mourinho (Real Madrid)

Best women's coach: Bruno Bini (France), Norio Sasaki (Japan), Pia Sundhage (Sweden)

Most beautiful goal of the year: Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid/Colombia), Miroslav Stoch (Fenerbahce/Slovakia), Neymar (Brazil/Santos)

Previous winners of the world player of the year award after Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta were on Thursday shortlisted for this year's prize:

1956: Stanley Matthews (ENG)

1957: Alfredo Di Stefano (ESP)

1958: Raymond Kopa (FRA)

1959: Alfredo Di Stefano (ESP)

1960: Luis Suarez (ESP)

1961: Omar Sivori (ITA)

1962: Josef Masopust (CZE)

1963: Lev Yachin (URSS)

1964: Denis Law (SCO)

1965: Eusebio (POR)

1966: Bobby Charlton (ENG)

1967: Florian Albert (HUN)

1968: George Best (NIR)

1969: Gianni Rivera (ITA)

1970: Gerd Mueller (GER)

1971: Johan Cruyff (NED)

1972: Franz Beckenbauer (GER)

1973: Johan Cruyff (NED)

1974: Johan Cruyff (NED)

1975: Oleg Blokhin (URSS)

1976: Franz Beckenbauer (GER)

1977: Alan Simonsen (DEN)

1978: Kevin Keegan (ENG)

1979: Kevin Keegan (ENG)

1980: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (GER)

1981: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (GER)

1982: Paolo Rossi (ITA)

1983: Michel Platini (FRA)

1984: Michel Platini (FRA)

1985: Michel Platini (FRA)

1986: Igor Belanov (URSS)

1987: Ruud Gullit (NED)

1988: Marco van Basten (NED)

1989: Marco van Basten (NED)

1990: Lothar Matthaeus (GER)

1991: Jean-Pierre Papin (FRA)

1992: Marco van Basten (NED)

1993: Roberto Baggio (ITA)

1994: Hristo Stoichkov (BUL)

1995: George Weah (LBR)

1996: Matthias Sammer (GER)

1997: Ronaldo (BRA)

1998: Zinedine Zidane (FRA)

1999: Rivaldo (BRA)

2000: Luis Figo (POR)

2001: Michael Owen (ENG)

2002: Ronaldo (BRA)

2003: Pavel Nedved (CZE)

2004: Andrei Shevchenko (UKR)

2005: Ronaldinho (BRA)

2006: Fabio Cannavaro (ITA)

2007: Kaka (BRA)

2008: Cristiano Ronaldo (POR)

2009: Lionel Messi (ARG)

2010: Lionel Messi (ARG)

2011: Lionel Messi (ARG)

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