It’s that time of year again, where the coaches and captains of every national team choose their top three players shortlisted for FIFA’s World Player of the Year Award. The usual big names, including last year’s winner Ronaldinho, have been all been nominated including Kaka, Beckham, Adriano and Ronaldo. The Premiership maintains its strong presence with stars such as Wayne Rooney, Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo, Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, Arjen Robben, Frank Lampard, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Steven Gerrard joining the ranks.
It would appear that the latter has the best chance of landing the big prize out of those representing the English league, after the Liverpool skipper was voted ‘most valuable player in Europe’ by UEFA for almost single-handedly leading his side to the Champions League trophy in May. The absence of a World Cup or European Championships means that performance in Europe’s premier club competition should have extra influence on who the finalists are come December.
The biggest shock amongst this year’s nominees, almost all of whom comprise superstar names at the top European clubs, is the inclusion of Bolton Wanderers’ Jay-Jay Okocha. “Big Sam” Allardyce must be pissing himself.
Click through for a full list of this year’s nominees:
Men’s shortlist: Adriano (Inter, Brazil), Michael Ballack (Bayern Munich, Germany), David Beckham (Real Madrid, England), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus, Italy), Cafu (Milan, Brazil), Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd, Portugal), Deco (Barcelona, Portugal), Didier Drogba (Chelsea, Ivory Coast), Michael Essien (Chelsea, Ghana), Samuel Eto’o (Barcelona, Cameroon), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool, England), Thierry Henry (Arsenal, France), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Juventus, Sweden), Kaka (Milan, Brazil), Frank Lampard (Chelsea, England), Paolo Maldini (AC Milan, Italy), Pavel Nedved (Juventus, Czech Republic), Alessandro Nesta (Milan, Italy), Jay-Jay Okocha (Bolton, Nigeria), Raul (Real Madrid, Spain), Juan Roman Riquelme (Villarreal, Argentina), Arjen Robben (Chelsea, Holland), Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid, Brazil), Robinho (Real Madrid, Brazil), Ronaldinho (Barcelona, Brazil), Ronaldo (Real Madrid, Brazil), Wayne Rooney (Man Utd, England), Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan, Ukraine), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Man Utd, Holland), Zidane Zinedine (Real Madrid, France).