Johannesburg: Three Spaniards feature in the
10 players nominated for the player of the World Cup finals
announced by world governing body FIFA on Friday.
Barcelona midfield duo Andres Iniesta and Xavi - voted
the player of Euro 2008 - along with leading scorer David
Villa, who joined Barca from Valencia prior to the tournament
for 40million euros are the trio nominated from the World Cup
Their opponents The Netherlands by contrast provide two
in the form of Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben and Inter
Milan playmaker Wesley Sneijder, joint top scorer along with
Villa at the finals with five goals.
They are joined by Uruguayan striker Diego Forlan, scorer
of four goals as the South Americans flew the flag for their
continent in reaching the semi-finals, and also Ghanaian
forward Asamoah Gyan.
Gyan scored three times for the African giants as they
reached the last eight, but were deprived of a place in the
semi-finals after a goalbound effort was illegally punched off
the line by Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez.
Gyan missed the ensuing penalty in the last kick of the
match and the South Americans won the penalty shootout.
Barcelona`s Argentinian playmaker Lionel Messi features
on the list despite failing to score here but he was at the
heart of most of their creative play up to their humbling by
Germany in the quarter-finals. Young German star Mesut Ozil
and team-mate Bastian Schweinsteiger round off the list.
The list reflects the dominance of European teams at the
tournament with two in the final - which will result in Europe
triumphing for the first time outside their continent - and
three of the four semi-finalists.
The winner in 2006 was somewhat controversially French
star Zinedine Zidane, who was anointed despite having been
sent-off in extra-time of the final for headbutting Italian
defender Marco Materazzi. His successor will be announced
after Sunday`s final at Soccer City.
The young player of the tournament will also be announced
after the final whistle with the three nominees.
One is German attacking midfielder Thomas Mueller - who
has scored four times in the finals and was sorely missed in
the semi-final defeat by Spain - and another is Ghanaian Andre
Ayew - son of former African player of the year Abedi Pele -
who was badly missed by the `Black Stars` in their
quarter-final as he was suspended.
The third nominee is Mexican Giovanni Dos Santos - on
loan at Turkish side Galatasaray from Premier League outfit
Spurs - who played in all four of his country`s games at the
The three nominees were selected from a list of 35
players born after January 1 1989.