Messi aims for World award
Barca's Argentinian star tipped to add FIFA gong to Euro award
By Ben Collins. Last Updated: December 8, 2009 11:11am
Spanish-based stars make up the five-man shortlist for the FIFA World Player of the Year award.
The 2008 winner Cristiano Ronaldo has again been included along with Real Madrid team-mate Kaka and Barcelona trio Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Xavi.
Portugal forward Ronaldo moved from Manchester United to Madrid for a world record £80million fee in July, eclipsing the previous best of £56m that Real paid AC Milan just weeks earlier for Brazil playmaker Kaka, the 2007 winner.
Ronaldo helped Manchester United defend the English league title but their bid to retain the Champions League title was halted in the final by a Barcelona side inspired by Argentina star Messi and Spainish midfield duo Iniesta and Xavi.
They also helped Barca win the Spanish league title and the Copa del Rey last season, which was the first team a Spanish club had won the treble.
Messi, 22, was runner-up the last two years and is favourite to land the gong after recently winning the Ballon d'Or as the European Footballer of the Year.
The nominees were confirmed following a poll of national team captains and coaches from a list drawn up of FIFA Football Committee experts.
Nominated for the women's prize are Marta, who is hoping for a fourth straight award, and her Brazil team-mate Cristiane.
Germany received two nominations in three-time winner Birgit Prinz and Inka Grings, while England's Kelly Smith completed the shortlist.
The winners will be announced at the FIFA World Player Gala on December 21 in Zurich, Switzerland, along with the FIFA/FIFPro World XI.
The line-up is seen as the best 11 players of the year, as chosen by over 50,000 professional football players worldwide, while the FIFA Puskas Award will be presented to the player - man or woman - who has scored the 'most beautiful goal' during the past year.