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Unread 05-12-2011, 11:40 AM
fred tissue
Default Lionel Messi, Xavi and Cristiano Ronaldo up for Fifa Ballon d'Or

• Barcelona duo and Real Madrid forward on shortlist
• Guardiola, Mourinho and Ferguson in running for coach award

Lionel Messi, Xavi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been shortlisted for the 2011 Fifa Ballon d'Or, Fifa and France Football have announced.

Messi – who won the inaugural award last year after Fifa's World Player of the Year crown and France Football's Ballon d'Or prize merged – is once again the favourite after another stunning season at Barcelona in which he scored 53 goals. The forward was Barça's top scorer as Pep Guardiola's side retained the La Liga title and reclaimed the Champions League trophy with a comprehensive defeat of Manchester United.

Xavi was the architect of many of Messi's goals as the veteran maintained his position as arguably the finest midfielder in world football, while Ronaldo also scored 53 times for Real Madrid as they finished runners-up in Spain and lost out to Barça in the Champions League semi-finals.

Guardiola, Madrid's José Mourinho and Manchester United's Sir Alex Ferguson have been shortlisted for the Coach of the Year award. In addition to guiding United to the Champions League final, Ferguson also claimed a record 19th league title – the 12th under the Scot's stewardship.

United were also represented in the category for the 2011 goal of the year with Wayne Rooney nominated for his stunning overhead kick against Manchester City last season. Messi's clever chip and volley over the Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny in the Champions League last 16 was also put forward, as was the Brazil striker Neymar's incredible solo effort for Santos against Flamengo.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Zurich in January next year.

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