FRANCE playmaker Zinedine Zidane, who will end his glorious career in the World Cup final against Italy on Sunday, has been shortlisted for the prestigious Fifa Golden Ball award.
The winner of the prize, which is given to the m
ost valuable player in the 32-team tournament, will be announced on Monday.
The nominations were dominated by Italy and France with hosts Germany earning two spots and Portugal one.
Four Italians were nominated by Fifa’s Technical Study Group — keeper Gianluigi Buffon, central defender Fabio Cannavaro, midfielder Andrea Pirlo and fullback Gianluca Zambrotta.
France, who face Italy at the Olympiastadion, had three players shortlisted — Zinedine Zidane, striker Thierry Henry and midfielder Patrick Vieira.
Germany’s playmaker Michael Ballack and striker Miroslav Klose were also selected along with midfielder Maniche of Portugal, who play the hosts in tomorrow’s third-place match.
“It’s going to be difficult to pick a winner this time,” Franz Beckenbauer, Germany’s organising committee president, said after the nominations were announced.
The winner will be picked by Fifa-accredited journalists and announced the day after the final at the end of the month-long tournament that began with 32 teams on June 9.
In 2002, Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn won the Golden Ball, an honour presented six times since 1982.
Italy’s Paolo Rossi won the first award before it went to Argentina’s Diego Maradona (1986), Italy’s Salvatore Schillaci (1990) and Brazilians Romario (1994) and Ronaldo (1998). — Reuter.