Tuesday Kickoff: La Liga trio up for UEFA award, Barton loan blocked and more

MessiRonaldo (Reuters Pictures)

The 2011-12 UEFA Best Player in Europe award candidate list is down to three La Liga standouts.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo made the shortlist for the award, which is being given out for the second year. Messi won last year's inaugural award beating out Xavi and Ronaldo, respectively, while Iniesta finished fourth.

The three made the final cut after the initial list of 32 players, which was voted on by journalists from each UEFA country, was released last month. The winner will be crowned after a final vote on Aug. 30 in Monaco, at the draw for the UEFA Champions League group stage. While Messi is coming off a record-setting goal-scoring season, Ronaldo led Real Madrid to the Spanish title; Iniesta, meanwhile, had a strong Barcelona campaign while winning Golden Ball honors at Euro 2012 for leading Spain to its second straight title.

The players who missed out on the shortlist to round out the top 10 in voting, respectively, were Andrea Pirlo, Xavi, Iker Casillas, Didier Drogba, Petr Cech, Radamel Falcao and Mesut Ozil.

Here are a few more stories to get your day going:

BARTON LOAN MOVE THWARTED

QPR's scheme to speed up Joey Barton's 12-match ban has been thwarted. 

The club was reportedly hoping to loan him to a League Two side, where more games are played at a faster rate, but The Football League said that it would block any such move in an effort to maintain the integrity of the FA's ruling.

Barton was banned for his actions in the regular season finale against Manchester City and was found guilty of two acts of violent conduct. He had been training with fourth-tier side Fleetwood.

SPURS BID UNSUCCESSFULLY FOR LLORIS, RAMIREZ

Tottenham's advances at securing Lyon goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and Bologna forward Gaston Ramirez have both been turned away.

Tottenham has reportedly been after a goalkeeper for the future for the duration of the offseason, with Lloris, France's No. 1, being the prime candidate.

Tottenham is also out to improve its front line, but Ramirez, a Uruguayan Olympian, is set to stay at Bologna unless Tottenham can improve its offer for his weekly salary, according to the player's agent. Tottenham reportedly offered Bologna €16 million for the 21-year-old forward, but unless the club can improve on the personal terms offered, no deal will be completed.

BALOTELLI OUT FOR ENGLAND CLASH

Those hoping to see Mario Balotelli go up against England on Wednesday are out of luck. The mercurial Manchester City and Italian national team striker has been ruled out for the Italy-England friendly in Switzerland after coming down with a case of conjunctivitis.

Balotelli has been replaced on Italy's roster by Diego Fabbrini and will miss out on the rematch from the Euro 2012 quarterfinals, which was won by Italy on penalty kicks.

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Do you think Iniesta or Ronaldo should unseat Messi as the best player in Europe? Surprised at any players who did not finish in the top 10 of the voting? What do you think of QPR reportedly trying to speed up Barton's punishment? Do you think Ramirez would be a good signing for Tottenham? Disappointed that Balotelli won't take part in the Italy-England friendly?

Share your thoughts below.

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13 Responses to Tuesday Kickoff: La Liga trio up for UEFA award, Barton loan blocked and more

  1. Illmatic74 says:

    I would still give the award to Messi. He did break a world record.

  2. Matt C in Tampa says:

    Iniesta…just so i don’t have to listen to CR7 fans whine if Messy gets it…that and he did do reasonably well with La Roja.

  3. Tyler says:

    Lionel Messi had the greatest season in the history of professional football, including but not limited to…

    Most goals ever scored in a season in any top flight league in the WORLD
    Most goals ever scored in La Liga
    Most goals ever scored in a Champions League season
    Most goals ever scored in a Champions League game
    First person to ever lead the Champions League in scoring for four consecutive years.

    The Ballon D’Or and this new European POY award are personal achievements and he just set the bar higher than ever. Frankly I don’t see it as up for debate.

  4. nufan says:

    Please give it to Iniesta…

  5. THomas says:

    Messi wins. He had his and the best year ever. There is no arguement.

  6. KJ says:

    Really? Pink eye is keeping Balotelli out? Don’t see that every day.

  7. chris says:

    Thats what happens when you got sexy models sitting on your face

  8. Dinho says:

    “THAT’S how you get pink eye”

  9. AdamFromMich says:

    I got pink eye in 5th grade! #BadgeOfHonor

  10. dan says:

    Those same 3 players every year is starting to get really old. They are amazing but there are other players that are brilliant. Drogba pretty much won the Champions League on his own! He deser
    ves to be at least in the top 3! And this is coming from a Spurs supporter

  11. dan says:

    he didn’t win any trophies. don’t care how many goals you score if you can’t win for your team

  12. Tyler says:

    Except for the 3 trophies they did win… right?

  13. Manny says:

    National team contribution doesn’t count since its based on club success or merits. His Euro performance shouldn’t be taken in consideration because the award is based on a club calendar year which excludes the summer tournament.