FIFA has announced this year’s list of nominees for the Ballon d’Or. Not surprisingly, 12 of the 23 players on the list hail from La Liga. Lionel Messi is the hot-favorite to win the title once again.
The Ballon d’Or was merged with the Player of the Year award in 2010. Since becoming the European Footballer of the Year in 2009, Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d’Or for two consecutive years. The Argentine forward has the chance of winning it for the third time this year.
Cristiano Ronaldo will be Lionel Messi’s prime contender for the Ballon d’Or. The Portuguese football idol has been a prolific goal-scorer for Real Madrid and helped his side with the La Liga title against Barcelona last season.
Apart from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo there is another deserving candidate for the Ballon d’Or award. Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta will be a top drawer candidate for the Ballon d’Or as well. Andres Iniesta was named as the tournament’s best player at Euro 2012.
Manchester United star Wayne Rooney is only Englishman on the list. The forward, who scored 27 goals in the Premier League last season, is joined by Premier League players Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli, Yaya Toure and Robin van Persie, who scored the highest number of goals in the Premier League last season.
The Ballon d’Or presentation ceremony will be held in Zurich on January 7 next year. The Ballon d’Or award is decided with votes from coaches and captains of international teams as well as renowned journalists and football analysts.
Here is the 23-man list of FIFA Ballon d’Or nominees
- Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
- Mario Balotelli (Manchester City)
- Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
- Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)
- Sergio Busquets (Barcelona)
- Iker Casillas (Real Madrid)
- Didier Drogba (Chelsea, now Shanghai Shenhua)
- Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid)
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan, now Paris-SG)
- Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)
- Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
- Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)
- Neymar (Santos)
- Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid)
- Gerard Pique (Barcelona)
- Andrea Pirlo (Juventus)
- Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
- Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
- Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
- Yaya Toure (Manchester City)
- Robin van Persie (Arsenal, now Manchester United)
- Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid)
- Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona)
FIFA has also announced the ten nominees for the FIFA Coach of the Year award. Here is the 10-man list for the award:
- Vicente Del Bosque (Spain)
- Roberto Di Matteo (Chelsea)
- Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)
- Pep Guardiola (Barcelona, now unemployed)
- Jupp Heynckes (Bayern Munich)
- Jurgen Klopp (Borussia Dortmund)
- Joachim Low (Germany)
- Roberto Mancini (Manchester City)
- Jose Mourinho (Real Madrid)
- Cesare Prandelli (Italy)