As predicted by Italian newspaper Gazetta dello Sport, the three finalists for the FIFA Ballon d’Or are indeed FC Barcelona players Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernandez. The shortlist was revealed today at the headquarters of the sports daily L’Equipe in Paris. It was a great day for FC Barcelona as its coach Pep Guardiola was also named as one of the three contenders for the inaugral FIFA World Coach of the Year Award for Men’s Football along with Vicente del Bosque and Jose Mourinho. The winners will be announced at a gala in Zurich on January 10.
Record breaking honour for the Club
FC Barcelona will claim their second consecutive Ballon d’Or (and the first inaugural FIFA Ballon d’Or after the award was merged with FIFA World Player of the Year award) after Messi’s landslide victory last year. This is the third time in the history of the Ballon d’Or (after Milan ’88, ’89) that 3 players from the same club have been shortlisted for the award, and the first time all three come from the same youth academy (our very own La Masia). Barça will also become the most successful club ever after claiming a record 7th World Player of the Year title last year (8th including this win) and 8th Ballon d’Or to join Milan and Juventus at the summit.
Spain’s first win in 50 years, Argentina’s second as many years
Spain can claim their first Ballon d’Or since 1960 when Luis Suarez won it with FC Barcelona, if Xavi or Iniesta wins it, and for Argentina it will be their second (also consecutive) if Messi wins it.