The race to the FIFA Ballon d’Or 2012 is now entering the final straight. On 29 November in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the nominees for all the annual awards were revealed. You can watch the video again here.

The nominees for no fewer than seven awards were announced: the three lucky ones for the FIFA Ballon d’Or, the FIFA Women’s Player of the Year award, Coach of the Year for men’s football and for women’s football, and the FIFA Puskas award. Furthermore, the list of 55 players shortlisted for the FIFA FIFpro World XI will be rounded off, with the 15 strikers completing the list.

All these nominees were revealed in a press conference attended by FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, Amaury Group CEO Francois Moriniere, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke and two Brazilian icons: Ronaldo and Marta.

If you missed the press conference, you can watch the video of it on demand on now, but below is a run-down of all the nominees unveiled in Sao Paulo.

The Players:
In alphabetical order, the FIFA Ballon d’Or nominees are: Cristiano RONALDO, Portugal, Andres INIESTA, Spain and Lionel MESSI, Argentina, while MARTA, Brazil, Alex MORGAN, USA and Abby WAMBACH, USA will contest the women’s award.

It’s the sixth time in a row Lionel Messi has been nominated among the last three nominees (since 2007). He won the award three times in a row (2009, 2010, 2011), and could be the first player ever to win it four times (Ronaldo and Zidane three times). Cristiano Ronaldo won the award in 2008. He was in the shortlist in 2011, 2009, 2008 and 2007. He also won the very first FIFA Puskas award, in 2009. Andres Iniesta was on the shortlist in 2010 and 2009 already, but never won a FIFA award. However he’s the only one of the three nominees who has won a FIFA World Cup™ and two UEFA EUROs.

Marta is nominated for the ninth time in a row, obviously a record. She has already won the trophy five times, a record, and she could beat her own record this year. Abby Wambach was already nominated last year. Would she win, that would be the third victory for an American player, after Mia Hamm won the first two trophies, in 2001 and 2002. Alex Morgan is nominated for the first time, making this the second occasion two Americans were nominated, following Mia Hamm and Tiffeny Mibrett were nominated together in 2001. 

The Coaches:
The candidates for the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football and FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football awards were also announced. In alphabetical order, the contenders are:

Vicente DEL BOSQUE, Spain (Spain), Pep GUARDIOLA, Spain (FC Barcelona) and Jose MOURINHO, Portugal (Real Madrid) for the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football award and Bruno BINI, France (France), Norio SASAKI, Japan (Japan) and Pia SUNDHAGE, Sweden (USA) for the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football award.

The contenders for the Coach of the year for Women’s football are exactly the same as last year: it has never happened before in this category.

The contenders for the award of Coach of the year for Men’s football are exactly the same as in 2010. Mourinho won in 2010, Guardiola in 2011, is it now time for Del Bosque? 

The Goals:
In addition, the three nominees for the FIFA Puskás award for the “most beautiful goal of the year” were announced. They are: FALCAO (América de Cali - Atletico Madrid, 19 May 2012), NEYMAR (Santos - Internacional, 7 March 2012) and Miroslav STOCH (Fenerbahçe - Gençlerbirliği, 3 March 2012).

It’s the first time a nominee for the FIFA Puskas award has been selected twice : Neymar was nominated last year and won, he’s again amongst the nominees. It’s also the first time a player from Slovakia (Miroslav Stoch) could win any FIFA award.