It is just 25 days until the stars of world football descend on Zurich’s Kongresshaus for the FIFA Ballon d’Or 2010, but how much do you actually know about those in line for the awards?

By now, you may be aware that the nominees were announced on Monday 6 December during a press conference at the headquarters of L’Equipe in Paris. It was revealed the male nominees are the Barcelona trio of Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Xavi, while Fatmire Bajramaj, Marta and Birgit Prinz have been shortlisted for the women’s award.

Also, the candidates for the newly created FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football and FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football awards were made known on the same day. Vicente del Bosque, Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho were considered to be the top three male coaches, while Maren Meinert, Silvia Neid and Pia Sundhage contest the women’s category.

You can read in-depth profiles of each of these individuals on and you’ll also learn some fascinating facts. For example, who out of Iniesta, Messi and Xavi:
a) helped his country to the final of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in UAE 2003?
b) won a silver medal at Sydney 2000?
c) became his country’s youngest captain – a record he still holds today?

In terms of the male coaches, did you know that Del Bosque won multiple Spanish leagues and cups as a player? That Guardiola claimed no fewer than six trophies in his first calendar year as a manager? And that Mourinho is the son of a former Portuguese international goalkeeper? You can learn all of this, plus a whole lot more by reading through our exclusive FIFA Ballon D'Or section.

Getting back to the quiz questions, which of the female candidates:
d) is nicknamed ‘Lira?’
e) has scored 63 goals in 60 international appearances
f) is the record scorer in the FIFA Women’s World Cup?

The profiles will also inform you that Meinert won both the EUROs and the FIFA Women’s World Cup as a player, Neid made a goalscoring international debut as a teenager and that Sundhage enjoyed an international playing career which lasted for 22 years.

Have your say
Just for fun – answer a) – f) in the comments space below. Will you be the quickest? Don’t forget, all the answers are in the profiles, which can be found by clicking the link to the right.

The correct answers will be revealed at 17:00 CET on Friday.