Sunderland striker Gyan among nominees for Ballon d’Or

Sunderland could boast the best player in the world this year. Asamoah Gyan has made the shortlist for the Ballon d'Or.

Sunderland could boast the best player in the world this year.

Asamoah Gyan has made the shortlist for the Ballon d'Or.

Seven members of Spain's World Cup-winning squad have been shortlisted for the prestigious FIFA Ballon d'Or award.

Andres Iniesta, who netted the winning goal in the Johannesburg final against Holland in July, is among the contenders along with his Barcelona team-mates Xavi, Carles Puyol and David Villa.

Spain captain Iker Casillas and his Real Madrid colleague Xabi Alonso also make the shortlist along with Arsenal skipper Cesc Fabregas.

Fabregas is one of three Premier League players on the 23-man list of nominees. The others are Chelsea's Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba and Sunderland's Ghana frontman Asamoah Gyan.

Lionel Messi is the reigning Ballon d'Or winner and FIFA World Player of the Year.

The awards have now been merged, so the best player in the world will now be recognised by a single accolade - the FIFA Ballon d'Or.

The final decisions will be made by the captains and head coaches of the national teams as well as by international media representatives selected by France Football.

The winners will be revealed in Zurich on January 10.

World Player of the Year nominees: Xabi Alonso (Spain), Daniel Alves (Brazil), Iker Casillas (Spain), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast), Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon), Cesc Fabregas (Spain), Diego Forlan (Uruguay), Asamoah Gyan (Ghana), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Julio Cesar (Brazil), Miroslav Klose (Germany), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Maicon (Brazil), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Thomas Muller (Germany), Mesut Ozil (Germany), Carles Puyol (Spain), Arjen Robben (Holland), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), Wesley Sneijder (Holland), David Villa (Spain) and Xavi (Spain).

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