France Football and FIFA announced the final three nominees for the 2012 FIFA Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Coach of the Year award today, with "representatives" from Spanish Football claiming all six of the possible nominations. Barcelona – rather unsurprisingly – account for three of those nominations as Lionel Messi and Andrés Iniesta have been shortlisted for the Ballon d’Or while Pep Guardiola could claim the World Coach of the Year award – despite embarking on a sabbatical after Barcelona’s Copa del Rey victory over Athletic Bilbao.
Elsewhere, Real Madrid’s La Liga success was recognised as Cristiano Ronaldo received his fifth nomination for the Ballon d’Or while Jose Mourinho could win his second FIFA World Coach of the Year award. However, the Special One will face competition from Vicente del Bosque who led Spain to their second successive UEFA European Championship win.
Unfortunately, Lionel Messi’s wonderful individual effort for Argentina against Brazil did not make the final three for the FIFA Puskas Award; although Falcao’s spectacular overhead kick for Atletico Madrid (against America de Cali) did make the cut so La Liga could make it a clean sweep in January.
Overall, Barcelona have received 10 nominations for the FIFA/FIFPro World XI as well, while both La Liga and the English Premier League account for 20 nominations each – make of that what you will...