Lionel Messi favourite for Ballon d’Or

Updated: December 6, 2011

Barcelona stars Lionel Messi and Xavi, and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo have been shortlisted for the 2011 FIFA Ballon d’Or, FIFA and France Football have confirmed.

Messi won the inaugural award last year after FIFA’s World Player of the Year crown and France Football’s Ballon d’Or gong merged.

The Argentine wizard is the favourite to take the award again this season after a fantastic campaign that saw him score 53 goals in all competitions.

He was his clubs top scorer as Barca retained the title, and won the Champions League by defeating Manchester United at Wembley. Team mate Xavi had a great season in midfield for the club and is a deserving nominee. He was instrumental in the clubs march to both titles in 2011.

Former United hero Ronaldo, had another excellent year for Real Madrid as they finished runners-up in Spain and lost out to rivals Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals.

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