The contenders for this year’s FIFA Ballon d’Or Award for the best player of 2011 and for the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year 2011 award were announced today at a press conference held at the headquarters of France Football magazine in Paris in which FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke, France Football CEO François Morinière, former French player Emmanuel Petit and Gaëtane Thiney, French international football player, took part.

In alphabetical order, the male nominees are: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Lionel Messi (Argentina) and Xavi (Spain), while Marta (Brazil), Homare Sawa (Japan) and Abby Wambach (USA) will contest the women’s award.

The candidates for the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football and FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football awards were also announced. In alphabetical order, the contenders are the following:

Alex Ferguson (Scotland), Josep Guardiola (Spain) and José Mourinho (Portugal) for the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football award and Bruno Bini (France), Norio Sasaki (Japan) and Pia Sundhage (Sweden) for the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football award.

All these nominees were confirmed after a poll in which the captains and head coaches of the men’s and women’s national teams as well as international media representatives selected by France Football voted for candidates.

Last but not least, the three nominees for the FIFA Puskás award for the “most beautiful goal of the year” were announced. These are: Lionel Messi (Argentina), Neymar (Brazil) and Wayne Rooney (England).

All the awards will be presented at the FIFA Ballon d’Or, which will be held at the Kongresshaus in Zurich, FIFA’s home city, on 9 January 2012.

The gala, formerly known as the “FIFA World Player of the Year Gala”, has been in existence since 1991. Last year it underwent a significant change when it merged with France Football’s Ballon d’Or award to form the new “FIFA Ballon d’Or”.

In addition to the awards given to the best male and the best female player, the best coaches as well as to the scorer of the best goal, three more honours will be revealed: the FIFA/FIFPro World XI, the FIFA Presidential Award and the FIFA Fair Play Award.

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