FIFA announce Player of the Year shortlist

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ZURICH - Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo was given a chance to defend his World Player of the Year title on Monday when he was named on the shortlist for this year's accolade alongside team-mate Kaka and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi.

Spanish pair Andres Iniesta and Xavi completed the shortlist for the title which will be awarded by football's governing body FIFA on December 21.

All five nominees play for Spanish clubs - Ronaldo and Kaka for Real Madrid and Xavi, Messi and Iniesta for Barcelona.

Messi has already won the Ballon D'Or awarded by France Football magazine, mainly after helping Barcelona to win the 2008/09 Champions League.

The winner will be chosen by national team coaches and captains, who cannot vote for players from their own country.

Last year Argentina coach Diego Maradona labelled the rules as stupid after he was unable to vote for Messi.