Tuesday Kickoff: Ballon d’Or finalists revealed, Boskovic called up, and more

MessiRonaldo (Getty)

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo lead a stacked field of finalists for the Ballon d'Or, French publication France Football announced on Tuesday.

A total of 23 finalists were revealed for the award, which Lionel Messi is considered the favorite to win for the third straight year. Wayne Rooney, Luis Suarez, Sergio Aguero and an astonishing eight total players from FC Barcelona made the lists of finalists. Brazilian sensation Neymar was the lone player based outside of Europe to be nominated.

Here are the finalists: 

Eric Abidal, Sergio Agüero, Karim Benzema, Iker Casillas, Cristiano Ronaldo, Daniel Alves, Samuel Eto'o, Cesc Fabregas, Diego Forlan, Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Thomas Müller, Nani, Neymar, Mesut Özil, Gerard Piqué, Wayne Rooney, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Wesley Sneijder, Luis Suarez (Uruguay, Liverpool), David Villa,  Xabi Alonso, Xavi Hernandez

France Football also announced ten finalists for Manager of the Year. Here are those finalists:

Vicente del Bosque (Spain), Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United), Rudi Garcia (Lille), Pep Guardiola (Barcelona), Jurgen Klopp (Borussia Dortmund), Joachim Löw (Germany), Jose Mourinho (Real Madrid), Oscar Tabarez (Uruguay), Andre Villas-Boas (Porto, Chelsea), Arsene Wenger (Arsenal).

Here are some other stories to get your Tuesday going:

Boskovic recalled by Montenegro

D.C. United midfielder Branko Boskovic has missed most of the 2011 MLS season due to a torn ACL, but he appears to have recovered in time to earn a call-up by Montenegro for their upcoming Euro 2012 qualifying series against the Czech Republic.

Boskovic has been sidelined since April, but has joined the Montenegran team for the two-game playoff, which will take place on Nov. 11 and 15.

Johnson may train with Manchester United

Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson missed out in his first chance to play in the MLS playoffs, but he may wind up with a nice consolation prize in the form of a training stint with Manchester United.

Johnson's goalkeeper coach with the Fire, Aron Hyde, told MLS Soccer that he was working on trying to set up a training stint through good friend and Manchester United goalkeeper coach Eric Steele, though nothing has been arranged yet.

Ba Hat-Trick Leads Newcastle 

Newcastle maintained their impressive start to the English Premier League season, riding a Demba Ba hat-trick to beat Stoke City, 3-1, on Monday. The Magpies are one of just two remaining unbeaten teams in England, and moved within a point of Manchester United for second place in the EPL with the victory.

Tevez open to move within Premier League

Carlos Tevez's days with Manchester City have long appeared to be numbered, but he just might wind up staying in England.

Tevez's representative, Kia Joorabchian, told Sky Sports that now that Tevez's family is with him in England, he is open to a stay in the Premier League, and wouldn't oppose a move to another Premier League club.


What do you think of the list of Ballon d'Or finalists? Does Messi have your vote, or would you vote for someone else? Anyone missing from the list that you think should be on it? Think Newcastle is for real, or destined to slow down? See Tevez staying in the Premier League?

Share your thoughts below. 

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38 Responses to Tuesday Kickoff: Ballon d’Or finalists revealed, Boskovic called up, and more

  1. Ken says:

    Can’t believe NUFC got Ba for free, what a good deal. No surprise with Tevez now that he’s in the doghouse, he can’t be a cry baby anymore.

  2. K Bone says:

    Who in the hell in the EPL would take a risk on Tevez? I can’t imagine he would take much of a pay cut either. Also, why is Fabregas on the shortlist? This is for 2011 correct? He played that well for Barca is the first 10 games to warrant a place on the shortlist? Surely it’s not because of his play with Arsenal. Same deal for Benzema, I don’t understand why he’s on the shortlist, he’s not even a definite starter for Real…

  3. K Bone says:

    Oh yeah, and how in the hell is David Silva not on the list?

  4. brian says:

    No RVP on or Cavani on the list?

  5. DingDong says:


  6. DanO says:

    How long before we see a North American on this list? Chicharito has a chance. Does Rossi count? It may be a long time before we see a Yank.

  7. GregS says:

    Of course newcastle will slow down, but Europa is always a healthy goal that they might have a shot at…

  8. MiamiAl says:

    Losing Boskovic was a devastating blow for DC United. The guy is an elite influential playmaker! Hopefully he will be back as good as ever!

  9. Alex says:

    If Dempsey makes it to a Champion’s League club in the next two years, there’s a very small chance we’ll see him. NOT saying we will… Just saying that’s the only chance we have in the near future.

  10. ManicMessiah says:

    Two unbelievably soft penalties in Stoke/Newcastle, Newcastle’s slighty more than Stoke’s. That said, it was stupid of the Stoke defender to do the same thing Newcastle was guilty of on the very next set piece.

    3 points at Stoke more than I hoped for. 10 games in, 3rd place and a point off 2nd? Obviously I know they won’t finish there, but every week I think on it for a little longer, I admit.

  11. PD says:

    if they included keepers a Yank would have a chance….

  12. PD says:

    nevermind… DOH!

  13. PD says:

    Messi and Guardiola “in perpetua” until they retire.

    I am not a die-hard Spain fan, so don’t misunderstand where I’m coming from.

    There is no suspense here. We’re in the midst of watching THE greatest club of all time in the midst of the golden years of their dynasty, with their marque player and manager deservedly reaping the benefit. Injury, old age and boredom will catch up with Barca soon enough, but until it does, everyone else just needs to settle for second best on the club level and be thankful that Messi isn’t a spaniard, thereby giving national squads an outside shot of beating spain…

    Either way, enjoy the magic while it lasts, cause it never does.

  14. MidWest Ref says:

    Tevez is the EPL equivalent to Terrill Owens a few years ago.

    A very talented player, who for a season can really help your team, until he becomes his own worst enemy and causes clubhouse problems.

    Wouldn’t Bolton – lets say – pay over the top to have Carlito be their savior and avoid relegation?

  15. fischy says:

    It really was devastating — he’d been brilliantly invisible in the 45 minutes he played on the first month of the MLS season, lulling defenses and setting himself up as a surprise attacker when MLS defenses would have forgotten he was on the pitch.

    I have to wonder where this meme comes from. Boscovic showed he was out of shape and also not very sharp in the few minutes he was allowed. He had a few decent minutes in his last MLS outing. He looked great in the Open Cup match against New England, where he got chopped in an ugly foul that didn’t even get called, and suffered the ACL tear. However, let’s keep in mind, it was an Open Cup match. In MLS play, Boscovic managed exactly zero goals and zero assists. To call him an influential playmaker? Based on what?

  16. fischy says:

    I think the French magazine needs to reconsider its list. There are 6 players who didn’t play in La Liga sometime in the last 3 years. Surely, they are included in error.

  17. Khan says:

    Might as well give it to Messi, it’s not worth going through the rest of the voting lol

    It is utterly astounding that Barcelona has 8 of the top 23 players in the world, including 3 of the top 5, on their squad and three of them (Cesc Abidal Pique) don’t even start half the time.

  18. K Bone says:

    I can just about gaurantee Dempsey will never be nominated for that award, be serious. I don’t see him being the star for a top European club. There aren’t even a large number of English teams clamoring for his signature at the moment. He’s definitely great for Fulham though…

  19. NE Matt says:

    So guess who was just announced as a call-in for the U-23 camp in Germany next week? Thats right, Stuttgart Kickers defender Royal-Dominique Fennell!

    Wait, what?!?!

    From what I hear, he’s a big German-American central defender who has never participated in the U.S. setup at any level.

    Here’s the article:

    link to stuttgarter-kickers.de

  20. fischy says:

    Lay off whatever your’e smoking or drinking this early in the morning…

  21. liz says:

    Dani Alves…NO
    not having RvP and David Silva is also a problem

  22. Gnarls says:

    Sounds like Manny Ramirez on every team he ever played for.

  23. K Bone says:

    Pique has been hurt off and on, otherwise he is a gauranteed starter. Abidal doesn’t make sense to me though either, he is a great player but definitely not one of the best in the world…

  24. Adam says:

    I just like “Luis Suarez (Uruguay, Liverpool).” Is there anyone that really doesn’t know who Suarez is?

  25. Dimidri says:

    It would be kind of cool if three MLS-based players were participating in the Euro playoffs(Boskovich, Lindpere if RBNY loses and he accepts a call up, and Keane). Quite a sign of how far we’re coming.

    Also lists like this remind me how flawed European soccer/football is…the top 23 players are concentrated in 8 teams, with that number likely to shrink once Neymar comes to Europe.


    chicharito should be nominated. In the past year he’s scored tons of goals for Man U and helped Mexico win the Gold Cup. arguably 1 of the top 20 players in the world

    my top 5 would be

    1. Messi
    2. Ronaldo
    3. Ozil
    4. Suarez
    5. Iniesta



  28. Khan says:

    I don’t think Chicarito cracks the top 50 in the world to be honest.

  29. Adam says:

    It probably means there are a number of players named Luis Suarez…

  30. bryan says:

    – so wait, 14 of the 23 play(ed) in Spain. WOW. Winner, for me, is Ronaldo
    – That’s good that Boskovic is well enough to get a call up.
    – All those people complaining Hamid got a training stint over Johnson can relax and still fail to realize it’s nothing more than a training stint.
    – I remember in FIFA09 when I got Ba on my team and he turned into a beast rated at like 92. haha
    – Oh, Tevez.

  31. bryan says:

    he scored 26 goals last season. which is funny because ozil had 26 assists.

  32. bryan says:

    for reference, Villa had 23 goals and Rooney had 16.

  33. bryan says:

    i think it’s because they didnt do so hot in the CL. otherwise, he deserves it over Rooney.

  34. bryan says:

    same thought. i dont get it.

  35. bryan says:

    very cool. i have to say i don’t know much about him though.

  36. bryan says:

    he’s good, but not that good. but he did score 4 more goals then Rooney, and Wayne is on the list. sooooo…

  37. MiamiAl says:

    Based on the fact that DC United signed him as a D.P., AND more importantly based on his play with Montenegro. Did you see what he did during his National team play before he got injured? He was a stud!