ZURICH (AP) - The shortlist for the first FIFA Ballon d’Or have been revealed, with seven members of Spain’s World Cup-winning squad among 23 men to make the preliminary cut.
Lionel Messi was the only Argentine on the list, which also included Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo, Uruguay striker Diego Forlan and Brazil trio Daniel Alves, Julio Cesar and Maicon.
Xavi, David Villa, Xabi Alonso, Iker Casillas, Carles Puyol, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas were the Spaniards on the list released Tuesday.
World soccer’s two most prestigious player of the year awards were merged into a single title called the FIFA Ballon d’Or, which will be presented for the first time in January.
After early voting, the list will be cut to three in December.
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