Star trio up for FIFA award

2011-12-05 12:45
Lionel Messi (AFP)

Paris - Holder Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Xavi were on Monday named on the final three-man shortlist for the 2011 FIFA Ballon d'Or award, which will be presented at a ceremony in Zurich on January 9.

Barcelona superstar Messi won the inaugural award - a combination of the France Football Ballon d'Or prize and FIFA's World Player of the Year award - last year, having picked up both awards in 2009.

His great Real Madrid rival Ronaldo had won both awards the previous year.

Messi's Barcelona team-mate Xavi was also shortlisted for the 2010 prize and finished in third place, behind another Barca colleague, Andres Iniesta.

The three-man shortlist was unveiled during a press conference at France Football headquarters in Paris attended by FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke.

Messi, 24, will start as a strong favourite to retain his prize, after a year in which he inspired his club to a La Liga and Champions League double.

He scored twice, including a memorable solo goal at the Bernabeu, as Barca beat arch rivals Real in the Champions League semi-finals and was also on target in the 3-1 defeat of Manchester United in the final at Wembley.

This season he has scored his 200th goal for Barcelona and is closing in on Cesar Rodriguez' all-time record of 235 goals for the club.

Like Messi, 26-year-old Ronaldo scores at a rate of roughly once a game and last season broke the record for most goals scored in a La Liga season with 40 as his side finished runners-up to Barcelona.

He scored an extra-time winner in the Copa del Rey final against Barca in April and recently found the net for the 100th time in a Real shirt.

The award is voted for by national team coaches and captains, as well as a panel of football journalists selected by France Football magazine.

In the award for Men's Coach of the Year, Messi's Barcelona mentor Pep Guardiola was shortlisted alongside Real Madrid's Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United.

A shortlist for FIFA's Ferenc Puskas Award for the best goal of the year was also revealed, with Wayne Rooney's spectacular overhead bicycle kick for Manchester United against Manchester City leading the nominations.

Messi's inventive chip over the goalkeeper and volley against Arsenal in the Champions League and a slaloming solo goal by Brazilian sensation Neymar in a league game for Santos against Flamengo were also shortlisted.

In the women's equivalent of the Ballon d'Or, holder Marta of Brazil was nominated alongside USA striker Abby Wambach and Japan's Homare Sawa, who finished top scorer at this year's women's World Cup in Germany.

Japan coach Norio Sasaki was recognised for leading his country to their first ever World Cup title by being named in the shortlist for the Women's Coach of the Year prize.

France's Bruno Bini and the USA's Swedish coach Pia Sundhage were also shortlisted.

Read more on:    xavi  |  lionel messi  |  cristiano ronaldo

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2016/17 season?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.