Wayne Rooney the only Englishman in the running for Fifa Ballon D'Or, while no current Chelsea players included on shortlist

 

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The Independent Online

It wouldn't matter if there were 100 Englishmen on the shortlist for the Fifa Ballon D'Or - none of them will beat Lionel Messi to the award.

Yet as it is, there is only one challenger from England with a shot at beating the Barcelona forward to the world's top individual honour - Wayne Rooney.

It is the second year in a row that the Manchester United striker is the only player eligible to wear the Three Lions shirt who has been shortlisted for the award.

Although it's been a year in which the former Everton striker has scored plenty of goals, he has won no trophies with Manchester United, and the chances of him winning an individual prize when the Fifa Ballon D'Or is presented in January, are nil.

The award will go to Messi - who once again has challenged those who say he is not the greatest player to ever kick a football. Just earlier today he was presented with the European Golden Boot for the most goals last season - a total of 50 in the Primera Division.

There is an argument for Cristiano Ronaldo ending Messi's run of three straight Ballon D'Ors. He won more last season - including the La Liga title with Real Madrid. And he came close to matching Messi's genius with a ridiculous number of goals himself. But that's the problem - he came close, just as it seems he will with the Fifa Ballon D'Or honour.

Joining Rooney on the shortlist are four others from the Premier League - including his Manchester United team-mate Robin van Persie, although the nod for the Dutch striker is more for his exploits with former club Arsenal. The other three are all from Premier League champions Manchester City - Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli and Yaya Toure.

Significantly, there is not a single player currently employed by European champions Chelsea on the shortlist. Didier Drogba, who left for Shanghai Shenhua in the summer and scored the decisive spot-kick in the Champions League final penalty shoot-out, is the only member of that triumphant squad to be recognised.

Roberto Di Matteo, who guided the west Londoners to the European Cup - then as caretaker - has been nominated for coach of the year. He is joined by fellow Premier League managers Sir Alex Ferguson and Roberto Mancini. The favourite for the award will be Vicente del Bosque, who guided Spain to the Euro 2012 title.

Player nominees: Sergio Aguero (Argentina), Xabi Alonso (Spain), Mario Balotelli (Italy), Karim Benzema (France), Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Sergio Busquets (Spain), Iker Casillas (Spain), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast), Radamel Falcao (Colombia), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Manuel Neuer (Germany), Neymar (Brazil), Mesut Ozil (Germany), Gerard Pique (Spain), Andrea Pirlo (Italy), Sergio Ramos (Spain), Wayne Rooney (England), Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast), Robin van Persie (Holland), Xavi (Spain).

Coach nominees: Vicente del Bosque (Spain/Spain national team), Roberto Di Matteo (Italy/Chelsea), Alex Ferguson (Scotland/Manchester United), Pep Guardiola (Spain/Barcelona former coach), Jupp Heynckes (Germany/Bayern Munich), Jurgen Klopp (Germany/Borussia Dortmund), Joachim Low (Germany/Germany national team), Roberto Mancini (Italy/Manchester City), Jose Mourinho (Portugal/Real Madrid), Cesare Prandelli (Italy/Italy national team).

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