Iniesta backing Messi & Xavi for Ballon d'Or

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Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta has given his backing to either Lionel Messi or Xavi Hernandez to win the prestigious Ballon d'Or award for 2011.

The pair have been named on a three-man shortlist alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, with Iniesta missing out after making it to the final stage last year.

Argentine international Messi was the player who claimed the award in 2010, and his Barca teammate has no intention of hiding the fact that he wants the award to stay at the Nou Camp.

"The three that are there are the best three. But I have two colleagues and I will be happy if the winner is one of them," said the Spanish international ahead of the awards ceremony, which takes place in Zurich on January 9th.

27-year-old Iniesta also admitted he's excited for the year ahead with both club and country, highlighting Euro 2012 as one of the major challenges that lay ahead.

"2012 will be an exciting year. Spain have a big challenge at Euro 2012, and Barcelona have a season that will also be exciting," he added.

Concluding his speech at the Albacete Sports Gala, Iniesta was also keen to stress that the hamstring injury picked up in the Copa del Rey clash with L'Hospitalet is not serious.

The 27-year-old is enjoying the winter break in La Liga, and hopes to be back for Pep Guardiola's side for the Catalan derby against Espanyol on January 8th.

"I'm fine. I'm trying to enjoy the holidays with the family, turning off a bit. I am also thinking a bit about my leg, although it is not important and I hope to be fit again very soon."

European News

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