Messi favourite for Ballon d'Or
Lionel Messi is the leading contender among the 30-strong list of nominees for the Ballon d'Or award voted by France Football magazine. Barcelona and Argentina ace Messi is favourite for the prize of European Footballer of the Year after inspiring Barcelona to an unprecented treble of La Liga, Copa del Rey and UEFA Champions League last season. Messi's Barca team-mates Thierry Henry, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Yaya Toure are all in the running for the prize. Last year's winner Cristiano Ronaldo is among the contenders again following his move to Real Madrid. Ronaldo's former Manchester United team-mates Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney and Nemanja Vidic also make the shortlist. Liverpool duo Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres are also nominated along with Arsenal pair Cesc Fabregas and Andrey Arshavin. Chelsea trio John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba are also up for the award There is not a single Italian player among the 30 nominees with the winner to be announced on 1st December. Shortlist: Andrey Arshavin (Arsenal), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Diego (Juventus), Didier Drogba (Chelsea), Edin Dzeko (Wolfsburg), Samuel Eto'o (Inter Milan), Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal), Fernando Torres (Liverpool), Diego Forlan (Atletico Madrid), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Ryan Giggs (Manchester United), Yoann Gourcuff (Bordeaux), Thierry Henry (Barcelona), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Julio Cesar (Inter Milan), Kaka (Real Madrid), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Maicon (Inter Milan), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Luis Fabiano (Sevilla), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), John Terry (Chelsea), Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United), David Villa (Valencia), Xavi (Barcelona), Yaya Toure (Barcelona).
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