Messi favourite to win

PARIS: Six Spaniards have been named in the 23-strong shortlist for the FIFA World Player of the Year award. They include three players from Barcelona, Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas and Liverpool striker Fernando Torres.

England are the next best represented nation on the shortlist with four players in the running including two from Chelsea in John Terry and Frank Lampard.

Last year’s winner Cristiano Ronaldo, who was with Manchester United then and is currently with Real Madrid, is listed again but the hot favourite to lift the award is arcelona’s Argentine playmaker Lionel Messi.

With voting restricted to the coaches and captains of national selections, a final shortlist of five players will be named in early December with the winner announced on December 21.

World Player of the Year nominees

• Spain (6): Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Andris Iniesta (Barcelona), Carles Puyol (Barcelona), Fernando Torres (Liverpool), David Villa (Valencia), Xavi (Barcelona)

• England (4): Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United),

John Terry (Chelsea)

• Brazil (3): Diego (Juventus), Kaka (Real Madrid), Luis

Fabiano (Sevilla)

• France (2): Thierry Henry (Barcelona), Franck

Ribery (Bayern


• Germany: Michael

Ballack (Chelsea)

• Argentina: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

• Cameroon: Samuel Eto’o

(Inter Milan)

• Ivory Coast: Didier

Drogba (Chelsea)

• Ghana: Michael Essien (Chelsea)

• Italy: Gianluigi Buffon

(Juventus Turin)

• Portugal: Cristiano

Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

• Sweden: Zlatan

Ibrahimovic (Barcelona)