Neymar, Iniesta, Pirlo among Golden Ball nominees

Brazil star Neymar and Spain attacker Andres Iniesta are among the stars named in the six-man Golden Ball shortlist for the top player of the Confederation Cup.Barcelona’s latest signing is the only footballer to be named man of the match twice so far this tournament while his new club-mate, Iniesta, has shone as he has helped propel la Roja into Sunday’s final against the Selecao.
Neymar’s Brazil compatriot Paulinho has earned a place among the nominees for his excellent performances throughout June including scoring the match-winning goal late in the side’s 2-1 semi-final win over Uruguay.
At the other end of the pitch, Sergio Ramos is the only nominee outside of midfield or attack and has been a constant in a back four which is yet to concede a goal in open play in the international tournament.
Andrea Pirlo is the oldest of the six nominees having been on hand to guide Italy to the last four, including grabbing a great free-kick goal on his 100th cap for the Azzurri.
Luis Suarez is another player to have scored a stunner from a dead ball situation and his three strikes in the Brazilian tournament have seen him become la Celeste’s all-time top goalscorer.
Should Neymar or Paulinho win the Golden Ball then they will become the third Brazilian in a row to win the award, following in Kaka (2009) and Adriano’s (2005) footsteps.
The first two winners of the individual trophy also starred for Brazil – Denilson and Ronaldinho – with former France stars Robert Pires and Thierry Henry the only non-Selecao stars to have been given the award.
The final games o

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