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Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar headline a group of 15 nominees for this year's ultimate attack, with Falcao and Robin van Persie also among the finalists,

The attacking nominations for the FIFA FIFPro World XI 2012 have been announced, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi not surprisingly leading the way.

The likes of Neymar, Sergio Aguero, Edinson Cavani, Radamel Falcao and Robin Van Persie have also all been named among the 15 candidates for a place in this year's ultimate side.

Manchester City forward Mario Balotelli, Real Madrid's Karim Benzema and Manchester United's Wayne Rooney have also been nominated, along with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and ex-Chelsea forward Didier Drogba. Bayern Munich's Mario Gomez is also in with a chance despite missing part of the year with an injury, with Liverpool's Luis Suarez and Anzhi Makhachkala forward Samuel Eto'o completing the list.

The 50,000 players who are part of the professional footballers' union FIFPro were each invited to vote in a secret ballot to nominate their peers for the World XI, choosing the best goalkeeper, four defenders, three midfielders and three forwards from 2012.

The final World XI selection will be announced at the Ballon d'Or award ceremony on Jan. 7, 2013.

Attacker shortlist in full:

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Real Madrid), Lionel Messi (Argentina, Barcelona), Sergio Aguero (Argentina, Manchester City), Mario Balotelli (Italy, Manchester City), Karim Benzema (France, Real Madrid), Edinson Cavani (Uruguay, Napoli), Dider Drogba (Cote d'Ivoire, Chelsea/Shanghai Shenhua) , Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon, Anzhi Makhachkala), Radamel Falcao (Colombia, Atletico Madrid), Mario Gomez (Germany, Bayern Munich), Zlatan Ibrahimvic (Sweden, AC Milan/Paris Saint-Germain), Neymar (Brazil, Santos), Robin Van Persie (Netherlands, Arsenal/Manchester United), Wayne Rooney (England, Manchester United), Luis Suarez(Uruguay, Liverpool).

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