Reigning FIFA World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo is in the running to retain his title after being named on a 23-man shortlist for this season's award.

The Real Madrid and Portugal star heads a familiar cast of the world's leading talent as voting commences ahead of the annual gala in Zurich on December 21, which also includes Barcelona's Lionel Messi as a strong candidate.

Spain provide six nominees - goalkeeper Iker Casillas, defender Carles Puyol, midfielders Andres Iniesta and Xavi and strikers Fernando Torres and David Villa.

England, with four - Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney and John Terry - are next, while Brazil (three) and France (two) are the only other countries with more than one player nominated.

FIFA World Player 2009 shortlist:

Michael Ballack (Germany), Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Iker Casillas (Spain), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Diego (Brazil), Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast), Michael Essien (Ghana), Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon), Steven Gerrard (England), Thierry Henry (France), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Kaka (Brazil), Frank Lampard (England), Luis Fabiano (Brazil), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Carles Puyol (Spain), Franck Ribery (France), Wayne Rooney (England), John Terry (England), Fernando Torres (Spain), David Villa (Spain), Xavi (Spain).

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Topics:
#Didier Drogba
#John Terry
#Premier League
#Fernando Torres
#Cristiano Ronaldo
#Wayne Rooney
#Steven Gerrard
#Michael Ballack
#Michael Essien
#Thierry Henry
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