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Friday, November 2, 2012
Messi reveals Ballon D'Or voting plans

Dermot Corrigan, Spain Correspondent

Lionel Messi says he will give a vote to Argentina team-mate Sergio Aguero in this year's FIFA Ballon D'Or competition, but that his first choices will be Barcelona clubmates Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta.

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As albiceleste captain, Messi has a say in the awarding of the prize along with fellow international captains, the coaches from FIFA's 209 member countries and 49 journalists from France Football magazine.

On Thursday, Messi told Catalan daily Sport he had included Aguero on his list in 2011 and would probably do the same again.

"Last year, I voted for Xavi, Iniesta and Aguero, in that order," he said. "I reckon this year it will be the same. I have not thought about it yet, but it will be more or less the same."

Messi suggested he might also consider choosing a different international team-mate and giving a nod to a player from Barca's La Liga rivals Real Madrid.

"Xavi and Iniesta will be there for sure and I am thinking between [Gonzalo] Higuain, [Angel] Di Maria or Aguero," he said.

It was then pointed out to him that neither Higuain nor Di Maria had made the official FIFA 23-man shortlist for this year's award. "Well, then my third vote will be for Kun [Aguero]," he said.

Messi is favourite to claim the award for a record fourth consecutive year, with Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo seen as his main challenger.

Aguero remains an outsider, while Xavi and Iniesta are more likely contenders for a podium position along with Atletico Madrid's Radamel Falcao and Real Madrid's Iker Casillas.

The three finalists' names will be made public by FIFA on November 29 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with the 2012 winner announced at a gala event in Zurich on January 7.

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