Balon d’or shortlist names world’s best Messi, Ronaldo and Xavi
Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Xavi Hernandez have been announced as the three potential recipients of this year’s Fifa Ballon d’Or.
The award, due to be announced on January 9 in Zurich, is voted for by journalists and the managers and captains of international teams.
Barcelona’s Messi is the favourite to pick up the prestigious trophy for the third consecutive year, ahead of Real Madrid’s Ronaldo who won the award in 2008 and was runner-up to the Argentinian in 2009. Messi’s teammate Xavi has never won the Ballon d’Or but finished third in 2009 and 2010.
Messi spoke of his excitement to be nominated but ensured team honours were still his priority. “It’s great to win individual awards, especially the prestigious ones, but what comes first for me is winning matches and titles.” he said.
Wayne Rooney is also in contention for silverware in the New Year with his spectacular bicycle kick against Manchester City among the nominations for Goal of the Year.
His manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been short-listed for Coach of the Year after orchestrating Manchester United’s 19th League title, along with Barca’s Pepe Guardiola and Madrid’s Jose Mourinho who came out on top of the Catalan giants in the Copa del Rey final.