Africa has its bets on Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast), Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon) and Asamoah Gyan (Ghana) who have been shortlisted for the FIFA Ballon d’Or World Player of the Year to become the second African player to win the trophy after Liberian Legend George Weah did in 1995.
The World’s most prestigious award winner will be revealed in a big ceremony in Zurich on 10 January 2011 and Al-Ahram online are highlighting the year of the African ambassadors.
Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast – Chelsea)
Ivorian striker, Didier Drogba, made no impact on the international scene as the Elephants lost to Algeria in the African Cup of Nations quarter finals and failed to survive the group stage in this summer’s World Cup.
However he delivered all his goods at club level as he led Chelsea to the Premier League and the FA Cup titles in 2010. The Ivorian scoring master won his second Golden Boot award this season by topping the scorers’ chart with 29 goals in 31 matches.
The 32-year old striker is still maintaining his scoring appetite this season as he scored 6 goals in 8 games so far.
Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon – Inter Milan)
Samuel Eto’o enjoyed a glamorous season with Serie A giants Inter Milan as he was inspirational in the team’s historical treble (first ever in Italy) winning the UEFA Champions League, League and Cup titles.
The Cameroonian ace has his name written in the books of history becoming the first ever player to win two trebles back to back after his previous success with Spanish giants Barcelona.
Eto’o has a blistering start of the new season as he scored 13 goals in the 11 matches, in all competitions. He was used on the right of a three-pronged attack last season under the helms of Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho. But new coach Rafael Benitez sees the best of him in the box close from the goal where he could produce his amazing talent and show his killer instinct in front of goal.
But like Drogba, his international run was very poor as the Indomitable Lions failed to go through the quarters of the African Cup of Nations and were outclassed during the South Africa’s showpiece.
Asamoah Gyan (Ghana – Sunderland)
Contrary to his predecessors, Ghanaian striker Asamoah Gyan reached stardom after an outstanding performance with Ghana this year. First he led an inexperienced and young squad to the final of the ACN only to lose against the reigning champions, Egypt.
The 24-year old marksman sparkled his career during the World Cup as he found the goal four times leading Ghana to the quarterfinals to equal Cameroon and Senegal’s African world cup record.
A performance that earned him a move to Premier League side Sunderland coming from French outfit Rennes where he left a good memory after scoring 13 goals during the past season.
Gyan had a dream start with the Black Cats as he scored on his debut but he is still fighting for a place in the starting XI as he has only played six games until now all of them as a second-half substitute.
The following 23 men (in alphabetical order) are in contention for the FIFA Ballon d’Or 2010:
Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid - Spain), Daniel Alves (Barcelona - Brazil), Iker Casillas (Real Madrid - Spain), Júlio César (Inter Milan - Brazil), Didier Drogba (Chelsea – Ivory Coast), Samuel Eto’o (Inter Milan – Cameroon), Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal - Spain), Diego Forlán (Atletico Madrid - Uruguay), Asamoah Gyan (Sunderland – Ghana), Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona - Spain), Miroslav Klose (Bayern Munich - Germany), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich - Germany), Maicon (Inter Milan - Brazil), Lionel Messi (Barcelona - Argentina), Thomas Müller (Bayern Munich - Germany), Mesut Özil (Real Madrid - Germany), Carles Puyol (Barcelona - Spain), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich - Netherlands), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid - Portugal), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich - Germany), Wesley Sneijder (Inter Milan - Netherlands), David Villa (Barcelona - Spain) and Xavi (Barcelona - Spain).