Thursday November 29 2012
Italians miss out on Ballon d'Or

Andrea Pirlo, Gianluigi Buffon and Mario Balotelli have missed out on the final shortlist for the FIFA Ballon d'Or award.

The Italian trio were initially nominated for the prestigious award, given to the world's best player, but the triumvirate have been cut from the final three as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta make it through to the final round of voting.

Pirlo had been considered an outside bet for the award following his outstanding performances for Juventus in their unbeaten Scudetto win as well as his guiding Italy to the final of Euro 2012.

The announcement was made at a Press conference in Sao Paulo this afternoon, as the La Liga players were deemed the superior candidates in the original 23-man list.

Messi has won the Golden Ball for the past three seasons and is the clear favourite for this year's edition.

The winner will be announced on January 7 in Zurich, with the recipient being decided by each national team captain, Coach and leading journalist.