ibnlive » Sports

Oct 13, 2006 at 03:11pm IST

Zizou on FIFA Player of the Year list

Zurich: Despite ending his career with an infamous head-butt, Zinedine Zidane was nominated for this year's FIFA World Player of the Year award.

Soccer's world governing body on Thursday released its shortlists of 20 women and 30 men in contention for the two annual awards honoring its best players.

Coaches and captains of men's and women's national teams around the world will be eligible to vote, and FIFA will announce the three male and three female players with the most votes in early December.

LAST SHOT: Zidane and others will have to beat Ronaldinho, who has won the award for the last two years.

The winners will be chosen from those finalists and presented with the awards at Zurich, Switzerland on December 18.

Zidane, the former captain of France, was ejected during the World Cup final against Italy for butting Marco Materazzi in the chest. Zidane was red-carded and Italy won the title on penalty kicks.

Italians Fabio Cannavaro and Andrea Pirlo, who were named the World Cup's best players along with Zidane, also were nominated. They will have to beat Brazil's Ronaldinho, the winner for the last two years.

Last year, FC Barcelona striker Ronaldinho beat out England's Frank Lampard and Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o.

The men's list includes Thierry Henry, twice second in the voting, Germany captain Michael Ballack, World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and England's Wayne Rooney.

Birgit Prinz of Germany edged Marta of Brazil and Shannon Boxx of the United States in the women's category last year. Prinz was left off the list this time despite earning the women's award as best player in Germany for the sixth straight year. Americans Kristine Lilly and Abby Wambach are among this year's nominees.

The list was drawn up by international experts on FIFA committees.