Nigerians missing from FIFA shortlist
Posted: 30 October 2009 Time: 13:29
Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto'o and Michael Essien are the only Africans named as world football governing body FIFA released a 33-strong shortlist of the best men and women players in the world ahead of the 2009 FIFA Player of the Year Gala.
Unsurprisingly, no Nigerian made the shortlist, which is headlined by current holder Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid.
However, Barcelona's Lionel Messi is widely expected to claim the top prize this year.
The women's list has current holder and three-time winner Marta of Brazil, along with former winner Birgit Prinz.
A total of 23 men and 10 women were selected by members of the FIFA Football Committee and the Committee for Women's Football and the FIFA Women's Football World Cup.
The winners will be voted for by coaches and captains of national teams from FIFA's member associations, with the proviso that they may not vote for players from the national team they coach or play for.
FIFA will announce the names of the final five players with the most votes at the beginning of December, with the winner to be unveiled at the 19th FIFA World Player Gala on December 21 in Zurich.
Men Michael Ballack (Germany), Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Iker Casillas (Spain), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Diego (Brazil), Didier Drogba (Côte d'Ivoire), Michael Essien (Ghana), Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon), Steven Gerrard (England), Thierry Henry (France), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden), Andrés Iniesta (Spain), Kaká (Brazil), Frank Lampard (England), Luis Fabiano (Brazil), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Carles Puyol (Spain), Franck Ribéry (France), Wayne Rooney (England), John Terry (England), Fernando Torres (Spain), David Villa (Spain) and Xavi (Spain).
Women Nadine Angerer (Germany), Sonia Bompastor (France), Cristiane (Brazil), Inka Grings (Germany), Mana Iwabuchi (Japan), Simone Laudehr (Germany), Marta (Brazil), Birgit Prinz (Germany), Kelly Smith (England) and Abby Wambach (USA).