Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Hard to see anyone prevent Lionel Messi retaining Ballon d'Or

Messi is favourite to retain the trophy for a third consecutive year and match Michel Platini's record in the 1980s

Fifa released a 23 man shortlist for the Ballon d'Or yesterday and eight Barcelona players dominate the nominations, as they did last season when Lionel Messi won the competition and his teammates Xavi and Andres Iniesta were second and third.

Messi is favourite to retain the trophy for a third consecutive year and match Michel Platini's record in the 1980s while he was at Juventus. Even his nominated teammates expect him to win it and such is Messi's consistency, there is no reason why he cannot win a third, fourth or fifth, especially if he continues to play for a team regarded as the planet's finest.

The list also includes Neymar, the 19-year-old Brazilian striker, who is the only player from a league outside central Europe, alongside Samuel Eto'o, who now earns a higher salary than any other in world football, for Anzhi Makhachkala in Russia.

Spain's Primera Liga again dominates, with 13 of the players at Barcelona or Real Madrid, against just four in England's Premier League.

The list is largely accurate but bows to reputations over what some players have actually achieved in 2011.

Diego Forlan had a glorious 2010 and an inglorious 2011, save for his goals in the Copa America. Nani is on the list and yet he did not start in May's European Cup final for Manchester United, while David Silva could feel aggrieved at being left out, such has been his form for Manchester City in 2011.


Follow The National Sport on @SprtNationalUAE & Andy Mitten on @AndyMitten

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Shah Rukh Khan performs at the IPL Gala dinner to open IPL VII at the Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi.

In pictures: Shah Rukh Khan stars at IPL Gala dinner in Abu Dhabi

The superstar entertainer Shah Rukh Khan on stage last night at a gala dinner to launch the Indian Premier League cricket tournament.

No words can describe this April 17, your captions will

Have a catchy caption for this picture. Share it with us and we might publish it and reward you.

 The year-long project aims to create a form of social autobiography — the story of Dubai documented by those who know it best, the people who live there.

Zoom in! This is your Dubai in a single image

On our sixth birthday, we are all about pictures. So here is our #mydubai offering. Using zoom.it, explore the city.

 This Dh17,000 Miele system can prepare your choice of coffee - from capuccino to espresso - at a touch of a button. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Miele puts art in coffee making

Miele has devoted itself to the art of preparing the black liquid with its beautifully designed coffee machines, living up to its mantra of turning kitchens into cafés.

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 Amir Khan, during a workout at the Gloves Community Centre on March 24, 2014 in Bolton, England, says his fight will be the real main event in Las Vegas on May 3. Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Amir Khan says bout with Luis Collazo ‘will steal the show’ in Las Vegas on May 3

British-Pakistani boxer Amir Khan says his fight with Luis Collazo will be the main attraction on same fight card led by Floyd Mayweather Jr and Marcos Maidana, writes Omar Al Raisi.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National