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06.12.2011» Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi and Xavi named as finalists for the Balon d'Or

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Xavi - FIFA Balon d'Or 2011, best player in the World 2011 wallpaper

Not that it was a big surprise, but this Monday, FIFA revealed the final 3 candidates for the Balon d'Or 2011 award (FIFA Best Player in the World 2011) announcing the names of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Xavi. The winner will be known on the 9th of January 2012.

The 2011 FIFA Balon d'Or, also known as FIFA Best Player in the World award, will be delivered on the 9th of January 2012, but this past Monday the nominees have been cut to just 3 names. Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Xavi will be the target of a voting poll leaded by National Team coaches (~33%), captains (~33%) and a few selected journalists (~33%). Besides Ronaldo, Real Madrid will also be represented in the FIFA Coach of the Year 2011 category, with José Mourinho being included in the final list, alongside with Barcelona's Pep Guardiola and Manchester United Sir Alex Ferguson.

Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi: Who is the best player in the World?:

The 2011 Golden Boot/Shoe winner, Cristiano Ronaldo, scored 40 goals in La Liga 2010-11 and 53 goals in all competitions last season, helping Real Madrid conquering the Copa del Rey against Barcelona. However, CR7 is still seen by many as less favorite to win FIFA's Balon d'Or than Lionel Messi. The Argentinian player has led the Blaugrana to glory in both the Spanish League and the UEFA Champions League, besides having won the last two editions (2009; 2010), that have ranked him as "FIFA Best Player in the World".

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Xavi in the Balon d'Or and FIFA Best Player in the World gala photo, 2011-2012

To complete the roll, there's Xavi, Barcelona's midfield maestro, seen as a major underdog since this seems to be a fight between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. But the Spanish player actually has a trump card, since he's the only one that seems to keep his performance levels constant, in both club and National Team. Anyway, bookies and sports experts insist on claiming that this will be a "bipolar" decision, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi drawing all the attentions and votes. No need to say who we will be supporting, but since this is such a subjective award (based on journalists, National Team managers and captains votes), we fear that an unfair outcome could be in the way...

Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernandez in Barcelona, wallpaper 2011-2012

For the second year in a row, FIFA will also hand the Best Coach in the World award, and José Mourinho's name is once again included in the announced final list. However and similarly to Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese coach also faces serious competition as Barcelona's Pep Guardiola and Manchester United Sir Alex Ferguson complete the candidates list. In a week where Real Madrid and Barcelona face each other for "La Liga" in the Santiago Bernabéu, these kind of nominees lists announcements are probably the less of the worries in José Mourinho's mind. We'll be posting an "El Clasico" preview in the next days, so that our readers won't miss a single bit of this long awaited clash.

Here are the four FIFA awards categories and the final nominees for 2011:

FIFA Balon d'Or (FIFA Best Player in the World 2011)
Player Name
Nationality
Club
Cristiano Ronaldo
Portuguese
Real Madrid
Lionel Messi
Argentinian
Barcelona
Xavi Hernandéz
Spanish
Barcelona

FIFA Women's Balon d'Or (FIFA Best Player in the World 2011)
Player Name
Nationality
Club
Marta
Brazilian
Western NY Flash
Homare Sawa
Japanese
INAC Leonessa
Abby Wambach
North-american
MagicJack

FIFA Coach of the Year 2011 (Men)
Player Name
Nationality
Club
José Mourinho
Portuguese
Real Madrid
Pep Guardiola
Spanish
Barcelona
Sir Alex Ferguson
Scottish
Manchester United

FIFA Coach of the Year 2011 (Women)
Player Name
Nationality
Club/National Team
Bruno Bini
French
France
Norio Sasaki
Japanese
Japan
Pia Sundhage
Swedish
U.S.A.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi and Xavi standing in FIFA gala ceremony

Real Madrid next game is against Ajax, for the UEFA Champions League, on the 7th of December, 2011. There's a good chance that Cristiano Ronaldo could be spared from this match, if Mourinho decides to rotate the team. This Tuesday, you can watch Barcelona vs BATE Borisov and the day after, you can follow Ajax vs Real Madrid, and Basel vs Manchester United also for the UEFA Champions League. All these games are available from our soccer live streams section and you can check how much time is left for the next Cristiano Ronaldo game, by looking at the countdown timer, placed on the top right corner of all pages.

Ajax vs Real Madrid kick-off time (07-12-2011):

Jakarta (Indonesia) | GMT+7: 02:45
Spain
(Madrid) | GMT+1: 20:45
Portugal and England (Lisbon/London) | GMT+0: 19:45
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) | GMT-2: 17:45
New York (United States) | GMT-5: 14:45
Los Angeles (United States) | GMT-8: 11:45
Beijing (China) | GMT-8: 11:45

Sources: ronaldo7.net / goal.com / publico.pt

Cristiano Ronaldo in Real Madrid 2011-2012

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, saluting and greeting each other with a hug, before a Barcelona and Real Madrid game

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in Real Madrid vs Barcelona 2011-2012

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