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»» Ronaldo and Sneijder out of the podium for FIFA Balon D'Or

Barcelona trio Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi are the final three in the running for the FIFA Ballon D'Or / World Player of the Year award.

French football magazine France Football has announced the names of the final three players who are in the running to win the FIFA Ballon D'Or for their performances in 2010. It was revealed in a press conference that Barcelona trio Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi are the three players who are still in the race to lift the trophy during a ceremony in Zurich on January 10. The trio played a major role in Barcelona's Primera Division title in 2009-10. 

Additionally, Iniesta helped Spain to 2010 World Cup glory in South Africa by netting the winner in the final against The Netherlands, while Xavi was a key player for La Furia Roja as well last summer. 

Messi failed to lead Argentina to glory at the World Cup, but the versatile attacker impressed all season long with his outstanding performances for Barcelona.

Last year's Ballon D'Or was won by Messi, while Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo finished second. Xavi had to settle for third spot last term. Even though Ronaldo wasn't seen as a favorite for this year's award, since the World Cup performances have a decisive influence on this, it's still weird not see his name on the top 3 list.

The news will also be a bit of a blow for Inter playmaker Wesley Sneijder. The Dutch international revealed earlier on Monday that he expected to be among the final three contenders for the trophy.

Furthermore, Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, former Inter gaffer Jose Mourinho and Spain chief Vicente del Bosque are the three coaches who are in the running for the Coach of the Year Award.


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