Football`s governing body FIFA and France Football magazine have unveiled the list of 23 nominees for the Ballon d`Or or Golden Ball, awarded to the best footballer in the world.
ґAnzhi striker Samuel Eto`o is the only Russian Premier League representative in the selection, which includes eight Barcelona players and five men from Real Madrid.
Lionel Messi, chosen as best footballer in the world for the last two years, is once again among the contenders.
The captains and head coaches of national teams as well as international media representatives will now vote to decide the three finalists, who will be named on December 5.
The official award ceremony is scheduled to take place in Zurich, Switzerland on January 9, 2012.
So here it is - the shortlist for the FIFA Ballon d?Or 2011:
Eric Abidal (France), Sergio Aguero (Argentina), Karim Benzema (France), Iker Casillas (Spain), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Dani Alves (Brazil), Samuel Eto`o (Cameroon), Cesc Fàbregas (Spain), Diego Forlán (Uruguay), Andrés Iniesta (Spain), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Thomas Müller (Germany), Nani (Portugal), Neymar (Brazil), Mesut Ozil (Germany), Gerard Pique (Spain), Wayne Rooney (England), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands), Luis Suárez (Uruguay), David Villa (Spain), Xabi Alonso (Spain) and Xavi (Spain).
The nominees for the FIFA World Coach of the Year were also announced:
Vicente Del Bosque (Spain/Spain national team), Alex Ferguson (Scotland/Manchester United FC), Rudi Garcia (France/Lille OSC), Pep Guardiola (Spain/FC Barcelona), Jürgen Klopp (Germany/Borussia Dortmund), Joachim Löw (Germany/Germany national team), José Mourinho (Portugal/Real Madrid C.F.), Óscar Tabárez (Uruguay/Uruguay national team), André Villas-Boas (Portugal/FC Porto, Chelsea FC), Arsène Wenger (France/Arsenal FC).