Fifa have unveiled their list of nominees for the prestigious Golden Ball award, given to the most valuable player at the 2006 World Cup.
The 10 nominees include four Italians, Fabio Cannavaro, Andrea Pirlo, Gianluca Zambrotta and Gianluigi Buffon, while fellow finalists France have three players on the list in Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and Zinedine Zidane.
The otehr players on the shortlist are Germany’s Michael Ballack and Miroslav Klose and Portugal’s Maniche.
“It’s going to be difficult to pick a winner this time,” Franz Beckenbauer, Germany’s organising committee president, said.
“The one thing that can be said is this is the first time there are not any new names.
“I’d say one of the older players… will take it – I liked Henry and Zidane and (Portugal’s) Luis Figo, even though he isn’t on the list.”
Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn won the award at the 2002 World Cup, while Brazil’s Ronaldo was the winner in 1998.
List of nominations:
Fabio Cannavaro (Italy)
Michael Ballack (Germany)
Andrea Pirlo (Italy)
Gianluca Zambrotta (Italy)
Thierry Henry (France)
Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)
Patrick Vieira (France)
Miroslav Klose (Germany)
Zinedine Zidane (France).