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Messi, Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo head exclusive list
by Paul Kennedy, October 20th, 2009 7AM

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[BALLON D'OR] The shortlist for the 2009 Golden Ball (Ballon d'Or) award is a very exclusive list: all 30 players represent clubs in Europe's big five leagues. Cristiano Ronaldo, the 2008 winner, heads the nominees released by France Football, which has organized the award since 1955. His greatest competition this year should come from his Real Madrid teammate Kaka and Barcelona star Lionel Messi.

No Germans and no Italians are on the 30-player short list. Spain leads all countries with six players. The list includes 20 Europeans, seven South Americans and three Africans. One deserving candidate not on the list is American Landon Donovan, winner of the 2009 Honda Player of the Year as the best U.S. national team player on Tuesday for the sixth time.

The award was once limited to European players -- hence it's common name European Player of the Year -- but it was expanded to include any player playing for a European club in 1995 and any player in the world in 2007. (No American has ever received votes in the balloting.)

Barcelona tops the list in terms of club representation with six players. Spain's La Liga has 13 nominees, England's Premier League 10, Italy's Serie A has four, Germany's Bundesliga two and France's Ligue 1 one.

It is voted for by journalists, one from each UEFA member and every country outside Europe that has participated in the World Cup. The winner will be announced in the Dec. 1 edition of France Football and then awarded at ceremonies on French television show Telefoot on Dec. 6.

2009 NOMINEES:
Argentina (1)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

Bosnia-Herzegovina (1)
Edin Dzeko (Wolfsburg)

Brazil (5)
Diego (Juventus)
Julio Cesar (Inter Milan)
Kaka (Real Madrid)
Maicon (Inter Milan)
Luis Fabiano (Sevilla)

Cameroon (1)
Samuel Eto'o (Inter Milan)

England (4)
Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
Frank Lampard (Chelsea)
Wayne Rooney (Man. United)
John Terry (Chelsea)

France (4)
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Yoann Gourcuff (Bordeaux)
Thierry Henry (Barcelona)
Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich)

Ivory Coast (2)
Didier Drogba (Chelsea)
Yaya Toure (Barcelona)

Portugal (1)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

Russia (1)
Andrey Arshavin (Arsenal)

Serbia (1)
Nemanja Vidic (Man. United)

Spain (6)
Iker Casillas (Real Madrid)
Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal)
Fernando Torres (Liverpool)
Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)
David Villa (Valencia)
Xavi (Barcelona)

Sweden (1)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Barcelona)

Uruguay (1)
Diego Forlan (Atletico Madrid)

Wales (1)
Ryan Giggs (Man. United)

GOLDEN BALL WINNERS:
1956 -- Stanley Matthews, Blackpool
1957 -- Alfredo Di Stefano, Real Madrid
1958 -- Raymond Kopa, Real Madrid
1959 -- Alfredo Di Stefano, Real Madrid
1960 -- Luis Suarez, Barcelona
1961 -- Omar Sivori, Juventus
1962 -- Josef Masopust, Dukla Prague
1963 -- Lev Yashin, Dynamo Moscow
1964 -- Denis Law, Manchester United
1965 -- Eusebio, Benfica
1966 -- Bobby Charlton, Manchester United
1967 -- Florian Albert, Ferencvaros
1968 -- George Best, Manchester United
1969 -- Gianni Rivera, AC Milan
1970 -- Gerd Mueller, Bayern Munich
1971 -- Johan Cruyff, Ajax
1972 -- Franz Beckenbauer, Bayern Munich
1973 -- Johan Cruyff, Barcelona
1974 -- Johan Cruyff, Barcelona
1975 -- Oleg Blokhin, Dynamo Kiev
1976 -- Franz Beckenbauer, Bayern Munich
1977 -- Allan Simonsen, Borussia Moenchengladbach
1978 -- Kevin Keegan, Hamburg
1979 -- Kevin Keegan, Hamburg
1980 -- Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Bayern Munich
1981 -- Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Bayern Munich
1982 -- Paolo Rossi, Juventus
1983 -- Michel Platini, Juventus
1984 -- Michel Platini, Juventus
1985 -- Michel Platini, Juventus
1986 -- Igor Belanov, Dynamo Kiev
1987 -- Ruud Gullit, AC Milan
1988 -- Marco Van Basten, AC Milan
1989 -- Marco Van Basten, AC Milan
1990 -- Lothar Matthaeus, Inter Milan
1991 -- Jean-Pierre Papin, Marseille
1992 -- Marco Van Basten, AC Milan
1993 -- Roberto Baggio, Juventus of Turin
1994 -- Hristo Stoitchkov, Barcelona
1995 -- George Weah, AC Milan
1996 -- Matthias Sammer, Borussia Dortmund
1997 -- Ronaldo, Inter Milan
1998 -- Zinedine Zidane, Juventus
1999 -- Rivaldo, Barcelona
2000 -- Luis Figo, Real Madrid
2001 -- Michael Owen, Liverpool
2002 -- Ronaldo, Real Madrid
2003 -- Pavel Nedved, Juventus
2004 -- Andriy Shevchenko, AC Milan
2005 -- Ronaldinho, Barcelona
2006 -- Fabio Cannavaro, Real Madrid
2007 -- Kaka, AC Milan
2008 -- Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United



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