Rooney makes 23-man cut for Fifa’s Ballon d’Or shortlist

ENGLAND and Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney has been included as the solitary British player among Fifa’s 23-strong list for the Ballon d’Or award for 2012’s best player.

The Merseysider is among five Premier League based players – alongside United team-mate Robin van Persie and Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli and Yaya Toure – included on the players’ list, while United’s Sir Alex Ferguson, City’s Roberto Mancini and Chelsea’s Roberto Di Matteo are in contention in the coach’s category.

THE SHORTLIST

Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli, Yaya Toure (all Manchester City), Xabi Alonso, Karim Benzema, Iker Casillas, Mesut Ozil, Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos (all Real Madrid), Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Pirlo (both Juventus), Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Xavi (all Barcelona), Didier Drogba (Shanghai Shenhua), Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris St Germain), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie (both Manchester United) Neymar (Santos)