This year, a record number of eight FC Barcelona players were nominated on the 23-man shortlist for the 2011 FIFA Ballon d’Or, more than any other team. While competition will be stiff for golden ball yet again this year, just the fact that eight Barcelona players were nominated means each is testimony to the amazing achievements of this special team. As a way to pay homage to this incredible feat, totalBarça will run a special series of articles featuring each of the eight blaugrana nominees.
In this series, totalBarca’s contributors will highlight every candidate’s achievements and play advocate to his claim on the Ballon d’Or.
This year, the team has improved on its record of seven contenders from last year’s inaugural award by adding one more candidate. The list was compiled by experts from FIFA’s Football Committee and Technical and Development Committee as well as France Football magazine. From there, it is up to national team coaches and captains, as well as select journalists, to vote for the winner by ranking their top three candidates.
This season, Dani Alves, Cesc Fàbregas, Gerard Piqué, Andrés Iniesta, Xavi Hernández, Éric Abidal, David Villa, and Lionel Messi have made it into the 23-man shortlist. Irrespective of who actually wins the award (hopefully, it is another all blaugrana top three again when the nominees are narrowed down December 5th), all Barcelona players and fans should be proud to celebrate this momentous era. No one can deny that each of these stars deserves recognition for their unique claims to the prize.
Stay tuned for the first installment of the series later today and continue to follow the series throughout the month of November!