Juve’s number one and the playmaker from Brescia both in the running for the prestigious accolade
A wonderful season with Juventus, culminating in an unbeaten run to the Scudetto. Brilliant at the Euros, going all the way to the final with the Azzurri against Spain. Gigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo are undoubtedly two of the biggest stars of 2012, as the year draws to a close.
It’s no surprise then that the goalkeeper from Carrara and the playmaker from Brescia are among the 23 candidates for the Ballon d’Or, FIFA having unveiled the shortlist earlier today. In one month’s time, on 29 November, the 23 names will be whittled down to just 3, who will compete for the title. The Ballon d’Or will be presented on 7 January 2013.
Here is the complete list of the 23 players in the running: Sergio Aguero (Argentina), Xabi Alonso (Spain), Mario Balotelli (Italy), Karim Benzema (France), Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Sergio Busquets (Spain), Iker Casillas (Spain), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Didier Drogba (Côte d'Ivoire), Radamel Falcao (Colombia), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Manuel Neuer (Germany), Neymar (Brazil), Mesut Ozil (Germany), Gerard Piqué (Spain), Andrea Pirlo (Italy), Sergio Ramos (Spain), Wayne Rooney (England), Yaya Touré (Côte d'Ivoire), Robin Van Persie (Netherlands), Xavi (Spain).