It’s that time of year again when we ask World Soccer readers to review the past 12 months and choose their Player, Manager and Team of the Year. Last year, Xavi was crowned the world’s best, along with world champions Spain and Jose Mourinho. The Awards, the oldest of their kind in world football, are now in their 30th year.
Xavi will again feature among the main contenders for World Player of the Year after another year in which Barcelona swept the board, winning the Champions League in style at Wembley, the Club World Cup in Dubai and retaining their Spanish league title.
Xavi’s Barcelona colleagues Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta are also bound to attract votes. Messi, in particular, has continued to smash goalscoring records and is on course to become Barcelona’s all-time top scorer.
Elsewhere in Spain, Cristiano Ronaldo pipped Messi to the ESM Golden Shoe award after scoring 40 La Liga goals for Real Madrid.
Colombian forward Falcao was the outstanding performer for Porto as they claimed the Europa League, while other South Americans who starred in Europe include Chile’s Alexis Sanchez, who contributed to Udinese’s great run in Italy, and Napoli’s Edinson Cavani.
Uruguay’s Luis Suarez was the star of the Copa America, while veteran striker Diego Forlan also played a major part in his country’s success.
As for the outstanding manager or coach of 2011, Pep Guardiola will undoubtedly feature prominently in many people’s selections. The Barcelona boss continues to work on a rolling one-year contract, eschewing the security of a more permanent deal.
Alex Ferguson, who celebrates 25 years as Manchester United manager in November, will also attract votes, as will Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez. Andre Villas-Boas, the youngest winner of the Europa League, is another contender, as are Borussia Dortmund’s Jurgen Klopp and Lille’s Rudi Garcia, league champions in Germany and France respectively.
As for the Team of the Year category, Uruguay’s Copa America triumph in Argentina is worthy of recognition, while Santos claimed the Libertadores Cup almost half a century after their last triumph. Barcelona, Lille, Dortmund and Manchester United all won their respective leagues, while Porto completed a memorable treble of Portuguese league, Cup and Europa League.
Young Player candidates must be aged 22 or under on December 1, 2011. Santos starlets Neymar and Paulo Henrique Ganso will be strong contenders, along with Lille’s Eden Hazard and Dortmund’s Mario Gotze.
We are looking for votes in four categories: World Player of the Year, World Manager of the Year, World Team of the Year and Young Player of the Year.
To make your vote count, email your selections to World Soccer. Please mark your entry ‘Awards’.
Alternatively, you can post your entry to:
2011 World Soccer Awards,
9th floor, Blue Fin Building,
110 Southwark Street,
* Voting has now closed. The results will be published in the January 2012 issue of World Soccer (on sale December 16).