• Messi takes 2010 Ballon d’Or
• Pele: No doubt Messi’s best
Lionel Messi, the winner of last year’s inaugural award, will be the favourite to take the honour, but he faces competition from team-mates Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, David Villa, Dani Alves, Gerard Pique and Eric Abidal. Messi, Iniesta and Xavi were named first, second and third for 2010.
Cristiano Ronaldo will also be a strong contender, and he is up alongside Iker Casillas, Karim Benzema, Xabi Alonso and Mesut Ozil.
Ozil believes two of his Madrid team-mates have a serious chance. “Casillas has been the best goalkeeper in the world for many years and I would give him the award,” he said inMarca. “Ronaldo has a great chance and has a real desire to win it.”
Wayne Rooney is the only Englishman to make the list, with only three other Premier League-based players – Sergio Aguero, Luis Suarez and Nani – in contention. Bayern Munich duo Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Muller and Inter Milan stars Diego Forlan and Wesley Sneijder are also in the running. Neymar, of Santos, is the only player outside Europe to make the list, while Anzhi Makhachkala and Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o is Africa’s sole representative.
Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho faces a fight to hold onto his FIFA World Coach of the Year prize. Mourinho won a Treble with Inter in 2010 but Barcelona’s Pep Guardiola, who came third, will be the favourite this time around.
FIFA Ballon d’Or men’s shortlist: Éric Abidal (France), Sergio Agüero (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 Özil (Germany), Gerard Piqué (Spain), Wayne Rooney (England), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands), Luis Suárez (Uruguay), David Villa (Spain), Xabi Alonso (Spain), Xavi (Spain).
FIFA World Coach of the Year men’s shortlist: 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).