UEFA Best Player in Europe Award: Messi, Ronaldo or Casillas

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Shorlist for Best Player in Europe Award
Zurich, Jul 18: UEFA have announced the 32 players that comprise the Best player in Europe Award shortlist. FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi, Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Iker Casillas are favourites for 2011/12 Best Player in Europe Award.

Best Player in Europe Award is aimed at 'reviving the spirit of the European Footballer of the Year award'. Michel Platini, president of UEFA, created the award after the Ballon d'Or was merged with the FIFA World Player of the Year award, creating the FIFA Ballon d'Or in 2010.

The 32-player list will be cut down to three players on August 14th. Journalists will vote live in Monaco to find out the winner on August 30.

Only in its second year of existence, the inaugural award was won by Lionel Messi ahead of Ronaldo and team-mate Xavi Hernandez.

The shortlist is created by 53 journalists from UEFA's member associations, all of whom rank the best five players in Europe - in their opinion - in order.

English champions Manchester City have six players on the list, Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli, Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Yaya Toure while Wayne Rooney was the only name from Manchester United. However, new signing Shinji Kagawa made the list after his heroics with Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund last season.

European Champions Chelsea have four players in the list, namely Petr Cech, Didier Drogba, Fernando Torres and Frank Lampard.

Players from La Liga definitely rule the charts with seven from champions Real Madrid (Mesut Ozil, Xabi Alonso, Ronaldo, Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Pepe and Fabio Coentrao and four from Barcelona (Messi, Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez and Cesc Fabregas).

Other stars from La Liga are Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao for helping the Madrid club lift the Europa League title.

While AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Poland captain Jakub Blaszczykowski, lone Welshman Leslie Davis from Bangor City, Spain legend Raul and Croatian midfielder Luka Modric also made the list.

Serie A champions Jeventus, who won the title without losing a single game, midfielder Andrea Pirlo and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon also made the 32-player list.

UEFA Best Player in Europe Award - Shortlist:

Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Mario Balotelli (Manchester City), Jakub Blaszczykowski (Borussia Dortmund), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Petr Cech (Chelsea), Fabio Coentrao (Real Madrid), Les Davies (Bangor City), Didier Drogba (Shanghai Shenhua), Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), Falcao (Atletico Madrid), Joe Hart (Manchester City), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Luka Modric (Tottenham), Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid), Pepe (Real Madrid), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Raul (Al-Sadd Sports Club), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), David Silva (Manchester City), Fernando Torres (Chelsea), Yaya Toure (Manchester City), Robin van Persie (Arsenal), Xavi (Barcelona).

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