Frenchmen aplenty but no Italians on Ballon d'Or shortlist

Ribéry, Henry (pictured), Gourcuff and Benzema are the four French players featuring alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the 30-strong shortlist for the 2009 Ballon d'Or award. Not a single player from world champions Italy made the cut.


REUTERS - Last year's winner Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentina's Lionel Messi were among the 30 players on the 2009 Ballon d'Or award shortlist released on Sunday but Italians and Germans were conspicuous by their absence.

Not a single player from world champions Italy or Euro 2008 losing finalists Germany made the list released by vote organisers France Football magazine on their website (www.france

The result of the vote by soccer journalists to name the winner of the award formerly know as the European Footballer of the Year will be announced on Dec. 1.

The 30 players shortlisted are:

Andrei Arshavin (Russia, Arsenal)
Karim Benzema (France, Olympique Lyon, then Real Madrid)
Iker Casillas (Spain, Real Madrid)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Manchester United, then Real
Diego (Brazil, Werder Bremen, then Juventus)
Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast, Chelsea)
Edin Dzeko (Bosnia, VfL Wolfsburg)
Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon, Barcelona, then Inter Milan)
Cesc Fabregas (Spain, Arsenal)
Fernando Torres (Spain, Liverpool)
Diego Forlan (Uruguay, Atletico Madrid)
Steven Gerrard (England, Liverpool)
Ryan Giggs (Wales, Manchester United)
Yoann Gourcuff (France, Girondins Bordeaux)
Thierry Henry (France, Barcelona)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden, Inter Milan, then Barcelona)
Andres Iniesta (Spain, Barcelona)
Julio Cesar (Brazil, Inter)
Kaka (Brazil, AC Milan, then Real Madrid)
Frank Lampard (England, Chelsea)
Maicon (Brazil, Inter Milan)
Lionel Messi (Argentina, Barcelona)
Luis Fabiano (Brazil, Sevilla)
Franck Ribery (France, Bayern Munich)
Wayne Rooney (England, Manchester United)
John Terry (England, Chelsea)
Nemanja Vidic (Serbia, Manchester United)
David Villa (Spain, Valencia)
Xavi (Spain, Barcelona)
Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast, Barcelona)

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