Saturday, November 8, 2008

Ronaldo and Messi in Battle For Top Honor

Manchester United's Ronaldo and Barcelona's Messi are among 23 players on a shortlist announced by the world governing body on Wednesday.

Ronaldo's goals helped United win the English Premier League and the Champions League last season, while Messi inspired Argentina to win the Olympic gold medal.

Six members of Spain's European Championship-winning team -- Iker Casillas, Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta, Fernando Torres, David Villa and Xavi Hernandez -- are also chasing the game's most prized individual award.

The 2007 winner, Brazil's Kaka, is also in contention.

Ten women were on FIFA's shortlist for top female player, including Brazil's Marta, Birgit Prinz of Germany and American duo Hope Solo and Shannon Boxx.

The candidate lists were drawn up by a team of experts assembled by FIFA, football's world governing body.

Voting is done by head coaches and captains of men's and women's national teams.

Three finalists in each contest will be named in December, before the winners are announced at a gala event on Jan. 12 at the Zurich Opera House.

Nominations for FIFA World Player 2008: Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo), Sergio Aguero (Argentina), Andrei Arshavin (Russia), Michael Ballack (Germany), Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Iker Casillas (Spain), Deco (Portugal), Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast), Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon), Cesc Fabregas (Spain), Steven Gerrard (England), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Kaka (Brazil), Frank Lampard (England), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Franck Ribery (France), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), John Terry (England), Fernando Torres (Spain), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Netherlands), David Villa (Spain), Xavi Hernandez (Spain).

Nominations for FIFA Women's World Player 2008: Nadine Angerer (Germany), Shannon Boxx (United States), Cristiane (Brazil), Daniela (Brazil), Marta (Brazil), Birgit Prinz (Germany), Christine Sinclair (Canada), Kelly Smith (England), Hope Solo (United States), Ingvild Stensland (Norway).

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