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Fifa has named the list of players shortlisted for the prize, with a host of star names battling it out for the crown

The 23-man shortlist for this year's Fifa Ballon d'Or trophy has been announced.

The selection contains 12 players who ply their trade in La Liga, including two-time winner Lionel Messi, who received the European Golden Shoe award on Monday.

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to be a strong contender for the prestigious prize as well, having played a big role in his side's title success last season, with the help of fellow nominees Mesut Ozil, Iker Casillas, Karim Benzema, Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos.

The final decisions will be made by the captains and coaches of the national teams and international media representatives, before an announcement of the three finalists on November 29 in Sao Paulo.

The Ballon d'Or gala will take place at the Zurich Kongresshaus on January 7 2013, along with the presentation of the Presidential and Fair Play trophies on the same night.




BALLON D'OR NOMINEES
Sergio Aguero Manchester City
Mario Balotelli Manchester City
Karim Benzema Real Madrid
Gianluigi Buffon Juventus
Sergio Busquets Barcelona
Iker Casillas Real Madrid
Didier Drogba Shanghai Shenhua
Radamel Falcao Atletico Madrid
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Paris Saint-Germain
Andres Iniesta Barcelona
Lionel Messi  Barcelona
Manuel Neuer  Bayern Munich
Neymar Santos
Mesut Ozil  Real Madrid
Gerard Pique  Barcelona
Andrea Pirlo  Juventus
Sergio Ramos  Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo  Real Madrid
Wayne Rooney  Manchester United
Yaya Toure  Manchester City
Robin van Persie  Manchester United
Xabi Alonso  Real Madrid
Xavi Hernandez  Barcelona

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