Monday October 29 2012
Pirlo, Buffon & Balotelli for Ballon d'Or

The 23-man shortlist for 2012 FIFA Ballon d'Or has been announced with three Italy internationals amongst the nominees.

Juventus pairing Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo have been nominated for the award, as well as Manchester City forward Mario Balotelli.

Former Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has also been named, alongside eight of the Spanish national team who lifted the EURO 2012 trophy this summer.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are favourtites to lift the trophy in the new year, with the Argentina international having won the previous three incarnations.

Full 23-man list:

Sergio Aguero (ARG/Manchester City), Mario Balotelli (ITA/Manchester City), Karim Benzema (FRA/Real Madrid), Gianluigi Buffon (ITA/Juventus), Sergio Busquets (ESP/FC Barcelona), Iker Casillas (SPA/Real Madrid), Didier Drogba (CIV/Shanghai Shenhua), Radamel Falcao (COL/Atletico Madrid), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (SWE/Paris Saint-Germain), Andres Iniesta (SPA/FC Barcelona). Lionel Messi (ARG/ FC Barcelona), Manuel Neuer (GER/Bayern Munich), Neymar (BRA/Santos), Mesut Ozil (GER/Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (SPA/FC Barcelona), Andrea Pirlo (ITA/Juventus), Sergio Ramos (SPA/Real Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (POR/Real Madrid), Wayne Rooney (ENG/Manchester United), Yaya Toure (CIV/Manchester City), Robin van Persie (HOL/Manchester United), Xabi Alonso (SPA/Real Madrid), Xavi Hernandez (SPA/FC Barcelona) 

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