Messi, Ronaldo, Iniesta up for Ballon d’Or

2012-11-29 16:55

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta have been shortlisted for this year’s Ballon d’Or, football’s world governing body Fifa and sponsors France Football magazine said.

Barcelona forward Messi (25) has already won the title three times and the Argentine is again favourite to win the prize, which will be presented in Zurich on January 7 after votes from journalists, national team captains and coaches.

If he wins, he would become the first player to win the award four times, having already joined French legend and current Uefa president Michel Platini as the only players to win three straight titles, along with Dutch stars Johan Cruyff and Marco Van Basten.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter unveiled the shortlist at a news conference in Sao Paulo.

“I won’t say it’s on a level with the Oscars – but it’s not far away,” joked Blatter as the three names were revealed from a shortlist of 23.

He also revealed that Spain’s Vicente Del Bosque – who ensured the Spanish became the first international side to land three straight tournaments by winning Euro 2012 – Real Madrid’s Jose Mourinho and former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola were on the shortlist for the title of best coach.

In normal circumstances, Ronaldo’s haul of 46 goals in La Liga last season – only surpassed by Messi’s astonishing 50 – would likely have placed him in pole position, but Messi’s record-breaking feats have left the Portuguese talisman in his shadow.

“They pushed each other to the limit of talent,” said Francois Moriniere, CEO of France Football.

Blatter said it was normal that generally players plying their trade in Europe would gain the limelight, though Neymar of Brazil’s Santos had been on a shortlist.

Plenty of South Americans have won the award – but overwhelmingly they have been playing in Europe, usually in Spain.

“Europe is the benchmark of football,” said Blatter. “So it’s difficult for someone not playing in Europe to be on the list.”

Messi’s brace in Barca’s 4-0 win at Levante on Sunday lifted him onto 82 goals for the season, just three short of Gerd Mueller’s all-time calendar record of 85 set in 1972.

Ahead of the announcement of the shortlist, Barca teammate Gerard Pique – one of eight Spaniards initially shortlisted – said Ronaldo was a superb player but Messi “is an alien” and would thus get his vote.

While Messi suffered heartache in being denied in La Liga by Real Madrid and in the Champions League semifinals by Chelsea, Ronaldo, title winner with Real, guided Portugal to the semifinals of Euro 2012 before they lost on penalties to Iniesta’s Spain.

Iniesta was voted the best player at Euro 2012 and edged out Xavi, who has three times finished the final poll in third spot.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com 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
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/World
 

WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:

 
 

You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.