The contenders for this year’s FIFA World Player of the Year and FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year awards, which will be presented at the Kongresshaus in Zurich, FIFA’s home city, on 21 December 2009, were announced on Monday. In alphabetical order, the male nominees are  Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Kaka (Brazil), Lionel Messi (Argentina) and Xavi (Spain), while Cristiane (Brazil), Inka Grings (Germany), Marta (Brazil), Birgit Prinz (Germany) and Kelly Smith (England) will contest the women’s award.

These nominees were confirmed after a poll in which the coaches and captains of men’s and women’s national teams from around the world voted for candidates from a list drawn up by football experts from the FIFA Football Committee and the FIFA Committee for Women’s Football.

The FIFA World Player Gala 2009 will have a number of exciting new features, including two new awards:

• The FIFA/FIFPro World XI, which will honour the best 11 players of the year as chosen by over 50,000 professional football players from all over the world.

• The FIFA Puskás Award, created in honour and in memory of Ferenc Puskás, the captain and star of the Hungarian national team during the 1950s, will be presented to the player – man or woman – who has scored the “most beautiful goal” during the past year.

For more information about the FIFA World Player Gala, including a list of previous winners, please visit