Platini backs Xavi for award
Rome - UEFA president Michel Platini says Spain playmaker Xavi would get his vote for the Ballon d'Or award for world player of the year.
Xavi is one of three Barcelona players, alongside Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta, on the short-list to win the award which will be handed out on January 10 in Zurich.
But Platini also criticised the absence of Inter Milan's Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder from the shortlist.
"I would give it to Xavi, then Sneijder, who but for one goal would have won everything, and then Iniesta," he said.
Sneijder was part of the Inter team that won the treble last season -- the Champions League and a domestic Italian double -- while the Netherlands also reached the World Cup final.
But there Spain's Iniesta scored the only goal of the game to give the Spaniards the world crown.
"It's not fair that the Inter player is not amongst the top three. The best players are Messi and Cristiano (Ronaldo) but the World Cup comes first," said Platini.
Platini twice won the Ballon d'Or and was also a two-time World Player of the Year winner before the two prizes merged this season.
But he was beaten to the Ballon d'Or in 1982 by Italian Paolo Rossi, who was top scorer at the World Cup in Spain that year as the Azzurri lifted the trophy.
"It's normal. In 1982 Rossi won, he wasn't the best player but he was in Spain," added the former France playmaker.