Villa boss unsurprised by snub

Houllier blames World Cup and Champions League disappointment

Houllier blames lack of success

Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier is 'unsurprised' that no English players have been nominated for the FIFA Ballon d'Or.

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In 2005 there were seven English-born candidates on the list and a year ago, four English players - Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and John Terry - were featured.

The Frenchman has blamed England's lack of success at the World Cup and Premier League side's inability to make it beyond the quarter-finals of last season's Champions League.

Houllier said: "The Ballon D'Or usually takes into account the World Cup or the European Championship of that year and also if a player has won the Champions League, for instance.

"I mean, no English team won the Champions League for 2010 and England went out before the quarter-finals in South Africa.

No surprise

"That's why, it's not a surprise.

"Usually it's an award for when players have been outstanding throughout the whole year.

"You can imagine players who were with Barcelona to the semi-final of the Champions League and those who won the World Cup with Spain would be there.

"You have to explain why sometimes players are there. Thierry Henry never won the Ballon D'Or but I think he deserved it on account of what he'd done.

"France failed in the (2006 World Cup) final on penalties against Italy and (Fabio) Cannavaro won it. It was between Thierry and Cannavaro."