ZURICH: The trophy-winning rivalry of Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi is being renewed yet again in the FIFA World Player of the Year poll writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The Real Madrid and Barcelona superstars were the most predictable of names in the shortlist of 23 players produced by the world federation for the annual award to be presented at the FIFA Gala at the Zurich Kongresshaus on January 7.

Messi has won the prize for the last three years after Ronaldo took the prize in 2008.

The Spanish league dominated the shortlist with 12 players followed by the English Premier League (five) and Italy (two) . Some 17 of the players named were European with four from South America and two from Africa.

The final poll will be held among the captains and head coaches of the world’s national teams as well as by selected international media representatives.

A shortlist of 10  coaches for their own award is headed by Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque and Roberto Di Matteo, who guided Chelsea to Champions League success.

The reduced shortlist of three names for each prize will be announced next month in São Paulo, on the eve of the 2013 Confederations Cup draw.

Men’s shortlist: Sergio Agüero (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 Ibrahimović (Sweden), Andrés Iniesta (Spain), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Manuel Neuer (Germany), Neymar (Brazil), Mesut Özil (Germany), Gerard Piqué (Spain), Andrea Pirlo (Italy), Sergio Ramos (Spain), Wayne Rooney (England), Yaya Touré (Côte d’Ivoire), Robin van Persie (Netherlands), Xavi (Spain).

Coaches’ shortlist: Vicente Del Bosque (Spain/Spain national team), Roberto Di Matteo (Italy/Chelsea FC), Alex Ferguson (Scotland/Manchester United FC), Pep Guardiola (Spain/FC Barcelona former coach), Jupp Heynckes (Germany/FC Bayern München), Jürgen Klopp (Germany/Borussia Dortmund), Joachim Löw (Germany/Germany national team), Roberto Mancini (Italy/Manchester City FC), José Mourinho (Portugal/Real Madrid CF), Cesare Prandelli (Italy/Italy national team).

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