Thursday 20 July 2017

Spain reign in d'Or list

Alex Ferguson said he was not surprised to see the Spanish contingent dominating this year's nominations for the Ballon d'Or.

Wayne Rooney is the only English-born nominee for the World Player of the Year award announced by Fifa, although Premier League stars Nani, also from Manchester United, Liverpool's Luis Suarez and Manchester City's Sergio Aguero have been recognised.

Former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas is part of a dominant Spanish presence.

Of the 23 names, 13 play for either Barcelona and Real Madrid, with Argentinian maestro Lionel Messi favourite to lift the title for a third consecutive year.

"The nominations are not a surprise," said United manager Ferguson. "But it is interesting to see which players are involved. The fact there are seven Spanish players tells you everything."

Although it seems inevitable a La Liga star will lift the crown again, the list is not without some controversy. City fans will be wondering why the early front runner for this year's Premier League Player of the Year, David Silva, was omitted.

That is no doubt a reflection of the extraordinary strength in depth in Spain. In addition to Fabregas, they are represented by Xavi, Iker Casillas, Andres Iniesta, David Villa, Gerard Pique and Xabi Alonso.

There was further recognition for the Premier League as Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and Andre Villas-Boas were nominated in the coach of the year category, though the latter's inclusion would refer to his success with FC Porto.

The list will be reduced to three on December 5, with the winner announced on January 9.

Irish Independent

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