(WFI) The nominees are in for the FIFA Ballon d’Or and Women’s World Player of the Year.
Lionel Messi won his third straight FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2011. (Getty)
Lionel Messi of Argentina is looking to win for a record fourth time after bagging the Ballon d’Or in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Andres Iniesta of Spain are the other men’s finalists revealed Thursday at a press conference in Sao Paulo.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter and secretary general Jérôme Valcke, L’Equipe and France Football CEO François Morinière as well as Brazilian legends Ronaldo and Marta were on hand at the Anhembi Convention Center for the announcement.
Marta will also attend the FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala on Jan. 7 in Zurich, where she will attempt to return to the winner’s circle after missing out on the Women’s World Player of the Year in 2011 for the first time in six years.
Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach of USA’s gold-medal winning Olympics squad are the other women’s finalists.
The candidates for Coach of the Year are Vicente Del Bosque of the Spanish national team, Pep Guardiola of FC Barcelona and Jose Mourinho of Real Madrid on the men’s side, and Bruno Bini of France, Norio Sasaki and Pia Sundhage of USA on the women’s.
The three nominees for the FIFA Puskás Award for “most beautiful goal of the year” are Falcao (América de Cali – Atletico Madrid, 19 May 2012); Neymar (Santos – Internacional, 7 March 2012) and Miroslav Stoch (Fenerbahçe – Gençlerbirliği, 3 March 2012).
The recipients of each honor as well as the FIFA Presidential Award and the FIFA Fair Play Award will be announced during the Jan. 7 gala, which will be streamed live on FIFA.com.
By INSIDER’s Matthew Grayson
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