27 Oct 2010

Spaniards dominate ballon d'Or awards short list

7:24 am on 27 October 2010

World Cup winners Spain have seven players featured in a 23-man shortlist for the FIFA Ballon d'Or awards.

A Spaniard last won the coveted prize in 1960 when Luis Suarez triumphed and included in this year's list is Barcelona's Andres Iniesta, who netted the only goal in extra time to defeat the Netherlands in the final.

Barcelona have six players in the list, four of them Spanish including David Villa who joined from Valencia during the close season.

Last year's Ballon d'Or victor Lionel Messi of Argentina is also there as La Liga emerged as the most represented league in the list with 11 players.

The Premier League only has three players in the shortlist, none of them English, and Ghana's Asamoah Gyan of Sunderland actually played the whole 2009/10 season at Stade Rennes in Ligue 1.

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, who had an indifferent World Cup, is not on the list.

No French players were on the list, following France's fiasco in South Africa, where Les Bleus were knocked out in the group stage and went on strike to protest against the exclusion of Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka after he had insulted then coach Raymond Domenech.

Champions League winners Inter Milan have four players on the list.

The winner will be announced in January.

The gong, formerly known as the European Footballer of the Year award, is voted on by journalists from across the world.

List: Iker Casillas (Spain, Real Madrid), Daniel Alves (Brazil, Barcelona), Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast, Chelsea), Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon, Inter Milan), Cesc Fabregas (Spain, Arsenal), Diego Forlan (Uruguay, Atletico Madrid), Asamoah Gyan (Ghana, Stade Rennes, then Sunderland), Andres Iniesta (Spain, Barcelona), Julio Cesar (Brazil, Inter Milan), Miroslav Klose (Germany, Bayern Munich), Philipp Lahm (Germany, Bayern Munich), Douglas Maicon (Brazil, Inter Milan), Lionel Messi (Argentina, Barcelona), Thomas Mueller (Germany, Bayern Munich), Mesut Ozil (Germany, Werder Bremen, then Real Madrid), Carles Puyol (Spain, Barcelona), Arjen Robben (Netherlands, Bayern Munich), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Real Madrid), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany, Bayern Munich), Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands, Inter Milan), David Villa (Spain, Valencia, then Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Spain, Real Madrid), Xavi Hernandez (Spain, Barcelona)