The 23-man shortlist for this year`s FIFA Ballon d`Or trophy has been announced.
The selection contains 12 players who ply their trade in La Liga, including two-time winner Lionel Messi, who received the European Golden Shoe award on Monday.
Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to be a strong contender for the prestigious prize as well, having played a big role in his side`s title success last season, with the help of fellow nominees Mesut Ozil, Iker Casillas, Karim Benzema, Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos.
The final decisions will be made by the captains and coaches of the national teams and international media representatives, before an announcement of the three finalists on November 29 in Sao Paulo.
The Ballon d`Or gala will take place at the Zurich Kongresshaus on January 7 2013, along with the presentation of the Presidential and Fair Play trophies on the same night.
List of nominees
• Sergio Agüero (Manchester City and Argentina)
• Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid and Spain)
• Mario Balotelli (Manchester City and Italy)
• Karim Benzema (Real Madrid and France).
• Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus and Italy)
• Sergio Busquets (Barcelona and Spain)
• Iker Casillas (Real Madrid and Spain)
• Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid and Portugal)
• Didier Drogba (Shanghai Shenhua and Ivory Coast)
• Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid and Colombia)
• Zlatan Ibrahimovic (PSG and Sweden)
• Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona and Spain)
• Lionel Messi (Barcelona and Argentina)
• Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich and Germany)
• Neymar (Santos and Brazil)
• Mesut Özil (Real Madrid and Germany)
• Gerard Piqué (Barcelona and Spain)
• Andrea Pirlo (Juventus and Italy)
• Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid and Spain)
• Wayne Rooney (England)
• Yaya Touré (Manchester City and Ivory Coast)
• Robin van Persie (Manchester United and Netherlands)
• Xavi (Barcelona and Spain)
First Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2012, 08:40