FC Barcelona trio Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta and Lionel Messi have been announced as the nominees for the 2010 FIFA Ballon d'Or award to be presented in Zurich on 10 January.
The prize is the result of the merger between the former FIFA World Player of the Year honour and the Ballon d'Or for European footballer of the year. At a ceremony in Paris, FIFA World Cup-winning Spain midfielders Xavi and Iniesta, plus Argentina forward Messi, the 2009 winner of both previous awards, were revealed as the three players in the running.
The trio received the most votes from a poll of captains and head coaches of men's and women's national teams and international media representatives selected by France Football magazine.
Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola is one of three nominees for the new FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men's Football award, alongside Spain's Vicente del Bosque and José Mourinho, UEFA Champions League winner with FC Internazionale Milano before his switch to Real Madrid CF.
Germany provides two nominees for the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year in 1. FFC Frankfurt forward Birgit Prinz – winner in 2003, 2004 and 2005 – and 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam midfielder Fatmire Bajramaj, who helped her club to the UEFA Women's Champions League title in May. Also on the shortlist is Brazil forward Marta, voted top of the poll every year since 2006.
Three Europeans are nominated for the first FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women's Football award, two of them from Germany – senior national coach Silvia Neid and Maren Meinert, who oversaw their victory in the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup on home soil. Former Swedish international Pia Sundhage, in charge of the United States, is also a contender.
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