Duo on Ballon d’Or shortlist
Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie are on the shortlist of 23 players nominated for the prestigious Ballon d’Or award.
The contenders for FIFA’s World Footballer of the Year award were announced on Monday with 11 of the names different from the 2011 list.
Rooney is rewarded for another impressive year at Old Trafford while van Persie’s explosive final months at Arsenal contribute to his recognition. Former United favourite Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are expected to battle it out for the award with the Barcelona superstar striving to win it for the fourth consecutive year.
Sir Alex Ferguson is one of 10 managers up for the Coach of the Year prize – alongside fellow Barclays Premier League bosses Roberto Mancini and Roberto Di Matteo.
Ballon d’Or nominees: Sergio Aguero (Man City), Mario Balotelli (Man City), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Didier Drogba (Chelsea, now Shanghai Shenhua), Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan/PSG), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Neymar (Santos), Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Wayne Rooney (Man United), Yaya Toure (Man City), Robin van Persie (Arsenal/Man United), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Xavi (Barcelona).
Ballon d’Or Coach nominees: Vicente del Bosque (Spain), Roberto Di Matteo (Chelsea), Sir Alex Ferguson (Man United), Pep Guardiola (ex-Barcelona), Jupp Heynckes (Bayern Munich), Jurgen Klopp (Borussia Dortmund), Joachim Low (Germany), Roberto Mancini (Man City), Jose Mourinho (Real Madrid), Cesare Prandelli (Italy).
Praise for pair
FIFA.com on Wayne Rooney:
With 14 goals between February and May 2012, Wayne Rooney was indispensable for Manchester United, even though his efforts in front of goal were not quite enough for the Red Devils to hold off the challenge of their cross-city rivals in the race for the title. Rooney’s overall tally of 27 was not enough for him to be crowned as the Premier League’s top goalscorer either, an accolade that went to Robin van Persie with 30, and although he also found the back of the net at EURO 2012, England bowed out at the quarter-final stage. An injury sustained at the start of the new Premier League season kept “Wazza” out for a month, but he bounced back to goalscoring ways with a brace against Stoke City on 20 October.
FIFA.com on Robin van Persie:
Although no major team titles came his way in 2012, Robin van Persie was unstoppable in front of goal, finishing as the Premier League’s top scorer with 30 goals for Arsenal. This season, the Dutch striker will be aiming to defend his crown in a Manchester United shirt after his move in August. Since the start of the year, he has scored four braces and two hat-tricks (against Blackburn Rovers for Arsenal in February, and against Southampton for United in September).