Del Bosque: I backed Xavi and Iniesta for Ballon d'Or

The coach has revealed that he is supporting two of his own, while at the same time defending himself over the controversial decision to play a friendly against Equatorial Guinea
Spain boss Vicente del Bosque has admitted that he has thrown his weight behind Xavi and Andres Iniesta in the battle for the Ballon d'Or but refused to disclose the identity of the recipient of his third selection.

Franck Ribery, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are regarded as the favourites for this year's accolade but the Roja coach would not be drawn on whether he backed one of the three.

“I voted for the two Spaniards [on Fifa’s 23-strong shortlist], and the other I’ll leave unknown," Del Bosque told Cadena Cope.

“I voted for [Jupp] Heynckes, [Rafa] Benitez and [Luiz Felipe] Scolari [for World Coach of the Year]. I base my choices on silverware, which is the most objective information.”

Meanwhile, Del Bosque defended himself against criticism over Spain's decision to play a friendly game against Equatorial Guinea at the weekend.

There were claims that by agreeing to the fixture in the oil-rich state, the world champions had effectively shown their support for a regime which leaves 75 per cent of the population to live on €0.75 a day, but the former Real Madrid boss insisted that the ethical implications had not been taken into consideration.

“In terms of the trip to Equatorial Guinea, the political element didn’t come into it. I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong, far from it," he declared.