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Barcelona's Xavi, Messi and Iniesta on Ballon d'Or list

Xavi Hernandez is nominated for the Ballon d'Or

Ballon d'Or trio light up World Cup

Barcelona trio Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta have been shortlisted for the 2010 Fifa Ballon d'Or award.

The new award is the result of a merger between the Fifa world player of the year and the Ballon d'Or, which was decided by football journalists.

Messi, who won both titles in 2009, is again favourite after scoring 34 league goals last season and 15 so far this.

Xavi and Iniesta helped Barca win the league and Spain the World Cup and the winner will be announced on 10 January.

Iniesta scored the solitary goal in the World Cup final as Spain defeated the Netherlands 1-0 in extra-time to lift the trophy for the first time.

Messi had a disappointing World Cup, failing to score in the tournament, as Argentina crashed out in the quarter-finals, beaten 4-0 by Germany.

Two of the three men vying for the new coach of the year award are also Spanish.

Barca's Pep Guardiola and Spain's World Cup-winning coach Vicente del Bosque have been recognised for their achievements, although the third nominee, Jose Mourinho, had arguably a better year.

606: DEBATE

Mourinho, who moved to Spain to take over as Real Madrid boss in the summer, guided Italian side Inter Milan to an unprecedented Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League treble.

Brazilian Marta, who has won the women's world player of the year on four occasions, is joined on a three-woman shortlist by German duo Fatmire Bajramaj and Birgit Prinz.

The women's coaching category will be contested by Maren Meinert (Germany Under-20 national team), Silvia Neid (Germany national team) and Pia Sundhage (United States national team).

Iker Casillas lifts the World Cup for Spain

Highlights - Netherlands 0-1 Spain



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see also
Ballon d'Or trio light up World Cup
06 Dec 10 |  Football
Messi shines as Barca thrash Real
29 Nov 10 |  Europe
Spain dominate Ballon d'Or awards
26 Oct 10 |  Europe
Messi wins Fifa best player award
21 Dec 09 |  Football
Messi named top European player
01 Dec 09 |  Europe


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