thumbnail Hello,

As voting for the award nears an end, an early poll by the organisers show that one of the two continental heroes are almost certain to be crowned the best of South America

The title of South American Player of the Year appears set to go to either Chile or Brazil in 2011, as Neymar of Santos and Universidad de Chile star Eduardo Vargas have emerged as the runaway favourites to lift the honour.

A poll conducted by El Pais, the prize's organisers since 1986, signalled the two young forwards as the leading contenders, after both helped their teams to continental glory in the year.

Neymar was a key part of the Santos team which lifted the Copa Libertadores and also reached the Club World Cup final against Barcelona, also winning the Paulista Championship with his team and forcing his way to a starting position with Brazil at 19 years old.

Vargas, meanwhile, scored 11 times in Universidad's Copa Sudamericana campaign, including three goals in the final has his club topped Liga de Quito and secured their first ever continental trophy. He appears set to move to Napoli in 2012, having already agreed a transfer to Italy.

According to the poll, the leaders are followed by a group of nine players still with an outside chance. Boca Juniors stars Juan Roman Riquelme and Rolando Schiavi feature, as does Universidad goalkeeper Johnny Herrera and Neymar's Santos and Brazil team mate Ganso.

The prize will be announced on December 31, the winner succeeding Internacional's Argentine playmaker Andres D'Alessandro who was honoured in 2010.