FIFA Ballon d'Or

Messi, Ronaldo lead Ballon d'Or nominees

October 29, 2012
By ESPN.com news services

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is among 12 La Liga nominees on the 23-man list for the 2012 FIFA Ballon d'Or award.

AP PhotoLionel Messi notched a record 50 Spanish league goals for Barcelona in the 2011-12 season.

Among the nominees from La Liga for the world's best player are six Real Madrid players, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Iker Casillas, Mesut Ozil, Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso. Messi's Barcelona teammates, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique and Xavi Hernandez are also candidates, along with Atletico Madrid's Radamel Falcao.

Mario Balotelli, Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure, all from Manchester City, are nominees, along with Manchester United's Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie.

The other nominees are Juventus players Andrea Pirlo and Gianluigi Buffon, Shanghai Shenhua's Didier Drogba, PSG's Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer and Santos (Brazil's) Neymar.

Seven of the 23 candidates are from the Spanish national team.

The final three candidates will be revealed on Nov. 29 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The Ballon d'Or ceremony will take place in Zurich on Jan. 7, 2013, when the player who receives the most votes from coaches and captains of international teams, and reporters, will be announced.

Information from Efe News Agency was used in this report.