Barca star in top 10

PARIS - The list of candidates to win the 2009 Ballon d'Or award was reduced to 10 men yesterday, with Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi the overwhelming favourite.

PARIS - The list of candidates to win the 2009 Ballon d'Or award was reduced to 10 men yesterday, with Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi the overwhelming favourite.

A list of 30 players released last month is now down to 10, with Messi and last year's winner Cristiano Ronaldo featuring prominently, award organisers France Football magazine said on their website.

Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto'o, Steven Gerrard, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Andres Iniesta, Kaka, Wayne Rooney and Xavi are also still in contention.

There were no Italian or German players on the original 30-man list. Now there are no French players either with Karim Benzema, Yoann Gourcuff and Franck Ribery all dropped. The result of the vote by soccer journalists will be announced tomorrow. - Reuters

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