30 October, 2012 - 08:10

The shortlist of players for Ballon d'Or 2012 is disclosed

The shortlist of players for Ballon d'Or 2012 is disclosed

FIFA announced the 23-man shortlist of players pretending to the annual Ballon d’Or award.

Spanish La Liga plays first fiddle providing the very half of the participants – 12 representatives – including Mesut Ozil, Xabi Alonso, Iker Casillas and Gerard Piqué. Barcelona striker Lionel Messi, who won the inaugural Ballon d’Or in 2010 and repeated the feat in 2011, is one of the odds-on favourites this year though there is only the Copa del Rey trophy in his tally for the last season. Lionel’s team-mate and UEFA’s Best Player in Europe Andres Iniesta, as well as Real Madrid idol Cristiano Ronaldo, are strong contenders to the trophy. Sergio Ramos, Xavi Hernandez and Radamel Falcao are shortlisted for the first time and have the chances to win.

As compared to previous years, Premier Liga extended the list up to six players. Manchester City provided Mario Balotelli, Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure. The rivals Manchester United raised eyebrows setting forward Wayne Rooney who scored 25 goals in 2012 which is not such a tremendous result as Messi’s 73 for example. Chelsea proposed their former forward Didier Drogba who currently plays for Shanghai Shenhua in the Chinese Super League. Aside from Drogba, Neymar from Brazilian Santos is the only non-European representative this year.

For Serie A giants Juventus the participation in the contest comes to be the debut one. The Juve gave way to their renowned goalkeeper and captain Gianluigi Buffon and midfielder Andrea Pirlo. The French side is represented by PSG high-key striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is shortlisted for the first time as well. German Bundesliga pulled out Bayern Munich goalie Manuel Neuer. However, such wondrous footballers as Cesc Fàbregas, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Müller, Wesley Sneijder and David Villa, who contended for Ballon d’Or for two consecutive years, are not shortlisted by the pundits in 2012.

Among the coaches who are listed for the FIFA World Coach of the Year award is without any doubts Vicente del Bosque who led Spain to the third successive international victory. Manchester City supremo Roberto Mancini and Roberto Di Matteo, who won the Champions League and FA Cup with Chelsea, are also in contention. Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, who won the prestigious award in 2010 and 2011 respectively, are shortlisted this year once again.

The announcement of the three finalists is scheduled on November 29 and will take place in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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Author: Kate Kozz

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2 November 2012, 07:11


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