The word is out... Italy's Fabio Cannavaro , Brazil's Ronaldinho and Frenchman Zinedine Zidane , along with the USA's Kristine Lilly , Germany's Renate Lingor and Brazil international Marta are the remaining contenders in the frame for this year's FIFA World Player and FIFA Women's World Player awards.
These two final trios (each listed in alphabetical order) can now be confirmed after a poll of the coaches and captains of men's and women's national teams around the world, who cast their votes on the basis of two shortlists of candidates drawn up by FIFA - comprising 30 players for the men's award and 20 for the women's.
The identity of the winners of the gold, silver and bronze awards will be revealed on Monday, 18 December, when the FIFA World Player Gala 2006 is held at Zurich's world-famous opera house with 'Football meets Mozart' as its theme to commemorate this year's 250th anniversary of the birth of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Taking place for the 16th time, the gala will also see the presentation of a number of other awards. In addition to the customary FIFA Presidential Award and the FIFA Fair Play Prize, the outstanding performers of the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ in Germany will also be honoured. The tournament's three best players (Zinedine Zidane, Fabio Cannavaro and Andrea Pirlo) and three top scorers (Miroslav Klose, Hernan Crespo and Ronaldo) will be presented with awards in Zurich, as will the outstanding goalkeeper (Gianluigi Buffon) and the two fairest teams (Brazil and Spain).
For more information about the FIFA World Player Gala, including profiles of the six nominees for this year's top awards and a list of previous award winners, see FIFA.com.
Note to editors:
Media accreditation for the FIFA World Player Gala 2006 can be requested by completing the relevant form in the Media Services section of www.FIFA.com . By way of exception, the previous deadline for applications for accreditation (30 November) has been extended to 17.00h CET on Monday, 4 December.