NEWS
11/01/2011 08:03 EDT | Updated 01/01/2012 05:12 EST

Lionel Messi among 23 candidates for FIFA's world player of the year award

ZURICH - Lionel Messi is in the running for a third consecutive FIFA world player of the year award after being selected Tuesday among the 23 candidates for the 2011 prize.

Argentina forward Messi and seven of his teammates at European and Spanish champion Barcelona are on the Ballon d'Or shortlist, while archrival Real Madrid has five players nominated. Seven Spain internationals are in contention.

England striker Wayne Rooney made the list after helping Manchester United to a 19th league title and a spot in the Champions League final.

No England player was nominated last year and no Italian player features on the 23-man list for the second straight year.

France has Eric Abidal of Barcelona and Karim Benzema of Madrid after also being shut out in 2010.

Brazil has two players on the shortlist, with Barcelona defender Dani Alves and Santos forward Neymar nominated.

Barcelona's Pep Guardiola will be favoured to win the world coach of the year award after leading his team to a trophy laden year, adding the European Super Cup and Spanish Super Cup in August.

Long-serving Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque and Madrid coach Jose Mourinho are also on the 10-candidate list. Mourinho won the 2010 award after leading Inter Milan to the Italian and European titles.

The leading three candidates from each list will be announced Dec. 5 in Paris, with the winners announced at a televised ceremony in Zurich on Jan. 9.

Voting is by national team coaches and captains, and journalists invited by joint organizer "France Football" magazine.

Player of the year candidates: Eric Abidal (France), Sergio Aguero (Argentina), Karim Benzema (France), Iker Casillas (Spain), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Dani Alves (Brazil), Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon), Cesc Fabregas (Spain), Diego Forlan (Uruguay), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Thomas Muller (Germany), Nani (Portugal), Neymar (Brazil), Mesut Oezil (Germany), Gerard Pique (Spain), Wayne Rooney (England), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands), Luis Suarez (Uruguay), David Villa (Spain), Xabi Alonso (Spain), Xavi (Spain).