Messi among 23 candidates for world player award

Zurich: Lionel Messi is in the running for a third consecutive FIFA world player of the year award after being selected among the 23 candidates for the 2011 prize.

FIFA released the shortlist early today for the Ballon d`Or 2011 award. European champion Barcelona has eight players in the list, including Messi, while archrival Madrid has five players nominated.

England striker Wayne Rooney made the list after helping Manchester United to a 19th league title and a spot in the Champions League final.

Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque was among the 10 candidates nominated for the world coach of the year award.

Long-serving Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, Barcelona`s Pep Guardiola and Madrid coach Jose Mourinho are also on the list.

The leading three candidates from each list will be announced December 5 in Paris, with the winners announced at a televised ceremony in Zurich on January 9.

Player of the year candidates: Eric Abidal (France), Sergio Aguero (Argentina), Karim Benzema (France), Iker Casillas (Spain), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Dani Alves (Brazil), Samuel Eto`o (Cameroon), Cesc Fabregas (Spain), Diego Forlan (Uruguay), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Thomas Muller (Germany), Nani (Portugal), Neymar (Brazil), Mesut Ozil (Germany), Gerard Pique (Spain), Wayne Rooney (England), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands), Luis Suarez (Uruguay), David Villa (Spain), Xabi Alonso (Spain), Xavi (Spain).

PTI

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