England internationals Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard are among 11 Premier League players shortlisted for this year’s Ballon d’Or.
The trio are the only British representatives for the award alongside the likes of Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo – the clear favourite – and Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas.
France Football magazine today revealed the condensed list of 30 contenders for their European golden ball award, with Barcelona striker Thierry Henry and AC Milan’s Ronaldinho – who received the accolade in 2005 – absent after disappointing campaigns last season.
Portugal international winger Ronaldo is the clear favourite to win the award on December 2 with Barca talisman Lionel Messi and 2007 winner Kaka (AC Milan) also in contention.
Rooney won the Champions League with Manchester United in May while Lampard played in the final for Chelsea. Liverpool’s Gerrard impressed as they reached the tournament’s last four before losing to Chelsea in the semi-finals.
Michael Ballack, Didier Drogba (both Chelsea), Edwin van der Sar, Nemanja Vidic (both Manchester United) and Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal) are the other Premier League stars on the list, which has been cut down from 50.
Spain are represented by seven players after winning Euro 2008 in the summer - Torres and Fabregas being joined by Marcos Senna, Sergio Ramos, Iker Casillas, David Villa and Xavi.
Only three Serie A players have been nominated – Kaka, Inter Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon – with Spain’s Primera Division matching the Premier League with 11 nominees.
Previous Ballon d’Or winners Andriy Shevchenko and Fabio Cannavaro have missed out.