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Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010

Iniesta, Xavi lead race for top honor

PARIS (AP) Barcelona players Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez and Lionel Messi were the three nominees Monday for FIFA's "Ballon d'Or" award for the world player of the year.

Midfielders Iniesta and Xavi helped Spain win its first World Cup, while Argentina forward Messi led Barcelona to another Spanish title.

Messi won the Ballon d'Or, or Golden Ball, award last year when France Football magazine chose the best player in Europe. The Golden Ball is being merged this year for the first time with FIFA's player of the year award to create one trophy.

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