International Soccer
             === Messi heads list of FIFA Ballon d'Or finalists ===
 Zurich,  Switzerland  (Sports Network)  - Lionel  Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and
 Xavi  have been  named as the finalists  for the 2011 FIFA Ballon d'Or, it was
 announced on Monday.
 Messi  won the inaugural award last year after FIFA's World Player of the Year
 and France Football's Ballon d'Or award merged, and the Barcelona forward will
 once again be favored to take home the honor.
 The Argentina international led Barcelona with 53 goals in all competitions as
 the  Catalan side  retained the league title and defended its Champions League
 crown with a win over Manchester United at Wembley Stadium in the final.
 Xavi was responsible for setting up a number Messi's goals and continues to be
 regarded as one of the best midfielders in the world.
 Ronaldo  matched Messi  with 53 goals in all competitions, but his Real Madrid
 side  finished  second to Barcelona  in the league and  was knocked out of the
 Champions League by Barca in the semifinals.
 The  2011 FIFA Coach  of the Year finalists were also announced on Monday with
 Barcelona's  Pep Guardiola,  Real Madrid's Jose Mourinho and Manchester United
 boss Sir Alex Ferguson up for consideration.
 Guardiola  led Barca to a league and Champions League double, while Mourinho's
 Real Madrid topped Barca in the final of the Copa del Rey.
 Ferguson helped United win its record 19th league title last season and guided
 the club to the Champions League final.
 The winners will be announced on January 9.
 12/05 12:04:00 ET

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