Lunedì, 22 Ottobre 2018
PARIS

Soccer:Pirlo, Balotelli, Buffon among Ballon d'Or hopefuls

English
© ANSA

Paris, October 29 - Three stars of Italy's fine run
to the final of Euro 2012, Andrea Pirlo, Mario Balotelli and
Gianluigi Buffon, were named Monday among 23 contenders for this
year's FIFA Ballon d'Or World Player of the Year award.
The Spain side that beat Italy 4-0 in the final dominated
the short list with seven nominees including Andres Iniesta,
Xavi and Iker Casillas.
But the competition is again seen by many as a two-horse
race between Real Madrid's Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo
and Barcelona's Argentine ace Lionel Messi, who is bidding to
become the first player to win the award four times.
In the coaches' competition, Italy's Cesare Prandelli is up
against Spain's Vicente del Bosque and eight others including
Real's Jose' Mourinho, Chelsea's Roberto Di Matteo, Manchester
United's Alex Ferguson, Manchester City's Roberto Mancini and
Barcelona's ex-coach Pep Guardiola.
Here are the nominated players, in alphabetical order:
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 (Cote d'Ivoire), 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' (Cote d'Ivoire), Robin van Persie
(Netherlands), Xavi (Spain).
Here are the coaches (in alphabetical order, first
nationality and then team):
Vicente del Bosque (Spain/Spain national team), Roberto Di
Matteo (Italy/Chelsea FC), Alex Ferguson (Scotland/Manchester
United FC), Pep Guardiola (Spain/FC Barcelona former coach),
Jupp Heynckes (Germany/FC Bayern Munich), Jurgen Klopp
(Germany/Borussia Dortmund), Joachim Low (Germany/Germany
national team), Roberto Mancini (Italy/Manchester City FC),
Jose' Mourinho (Portugal/Real Madrid CF), Cesare Prandelli
(Italy/Italy national team).

photo: Balotelli (left) and Pirlo

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