Ronaldo in contention for FIFA gong

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Portugal and Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has been included on the shortlist for the FIFA World Player of the Year award.

The 2008 winner is one of five contenders for the award alongside Real Madrid team-mate Kaka and Barcelona trio Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Xavi.

Ronaldo transferred from Manchester United to the Bernabeu for a world record fee in the region of £80million in July, while Brazil playmaker Kaka joined from AC Milan in the summer.

Argentina's Messi and Spain midfield duo Iniesta and Xavi were at the forefront of Barcelona's treble-winning success, which saw the Catalan club claim the Champions League, the Primera Division title and the Copa del Rey.

Messi is favourite to land the gong after recently winning the Ballon d'Or.

The nominees were confirmed following a poll of national teams' captains and coaches from a list drawn up of FIFA Football Committee experts.

Nominated for the women's prize were 2008 winner Marta and her Brazil team-mate Cristiane.

Germany received two nominations in Inka Grings and Birgit Prinz and England's Kelly Smith is also in contention for the award.

The winners will be announced at the FIFA World Player Gala on December 21 in Zurich, Switzerland.

Also at the gala, the best 11 players of the year as chosen by over 50,000 professional football players from all over the world will be honoured in the FIFA/FIFPro World XI, while the FIFA Puskas Award will be presented to the player - man or woman - who has scored the 'most beautiful goal' during the past year.

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