A couple years ago, we would've been calling this award the Ballon d'Or, but now that FIFA has usurped that title from UEFA, we have the much less imaginative "2011-12 UEFA Best Player in Europe...Award". The big difference between the old Ballon d'Or (current UEFA Best Player in Europe Award) and the new FIFA version is who gets to vote: journalists for the former and everybody and their brother* for the latter.
The 53 journalists, one from each UEFA member association, provided a Top 5 list to determine the 10 best players who plied their trade in a UEFA member league in 2011-12. They have not determined the ultimate winner just yet; that will be chosen in a live(!) revote on just the current top 3 (you'll NEVER guess who they might be**) at the Champions League 2012-13 groups draw in Monaco on August 30.
Hit the jump for the full list. And a surprise guest appearance.
* journalists, national team coaches, and national team captains
** Some chump named Lionel Messi (last year's winner), a short bald guy named Andres Iniesta, and a Portuguese wizard called Jose Bosingwa. No, wait, Cristiano Ronaldo. That's the one.
Positions 4-10 are as follows (with technically a tie for 8th place):
- Andrea Pirlo - Juventus - 90pts
- Xavi - Barcelona - 57pts
- Iker Casillas - Real Madrid - 53pts
- Didier Drogba - "Chelsea" - 31pts
- =Petr Cech - Chelsea - 14pts
- =Falcao - Atletico Madrid - 14pts
- Mesut Ozil - Real Madrid - 10pts
Oh hey, that guy in 7th place looks familiar, too! Miss you, Didier.
So that's 7 players from the Spanish league (3 Barca, 3 Real, 1 sore thumb), a couple of old farts from
England China and Italy, and Petr Cech. Congrats Petr Cech! I tip my rugby helmet to you.