Spain boss Vicente del Bosque has nominated La Roja stars Iker Casillas, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta for the Ballon d’Or.
The World Cup and European championship winning trainer discussed his choices for the prestigious award with Radio Marca. His first vote went to Real Madrid ‘keeper Casillas, the second and third to Barcelona midfield duo Xavi and Iniesta.
“The first two I chose for being captains of their teams and for reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League,” said Del Bosque. “Iniesta was also chosen by UEFA as the best.
“I would also have liked to nominate [Sergio] Ramos, [Fernando] Torres. I know perfectly well who Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are, but I preferred Spanish players.”
In the Coach category, the Salamanca native opted for former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola, Roberto Di Matteo – recently sacked by Chelsea – and Cesare Prandelli, chief of Spain’s bested Euro 2012 foes Italy.
“I have chosen Guardiola because he is Spanish and because of all he has done. He won three titles this year. When I choose a Coach I do so for their behaviour as well as their sporting merit. I chose Di Matteo for what he did at Chelsea arriving in mid-season.”
Del Bosque snubbed Jose Mourinho despite ‘The Special One’ wresting the La Liga title away from Guardiola’s Barca.
“I have nothing against Real Madrid or Mourinho. Nobody can tell me about Real Madrid, I know them very well,” concluded the former Los Blancos boss.