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Low: Gotze still key for Germany

Germany
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Pep wants to keep Gotze

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Loew opted out of Ballon d'Or vote

Joachim Loew did not vote for the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or as he felt the number of Germany players on the shortlist made it impossible to vote objectively.

Platini: Maybe FIFA tried to please Ronaldo

The award is decided by national coaches and captains, as well as selected journalists, and FIFA makes public the details of how votes were cast.

The 23-man shortlist for this year features five members of Loew’s squad -- Bayern Munich quartet Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Manuel Neuer and Thomas Mueller plus Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil -- and the Germany boss felt it would be inappropriate to cast a vote.

“He sees himself in a position where is not capable to make an objective and unbiased vote,” German Football Association (DFB) press officer Jens Grittner told Sport Bild. “Because FIFA makes the votes public, the national team coach is caught in a catch-22 situation.”

In 2012, when Ozil and Manuel Neuer were the only Germany players to make the shortlist, Loew had voted for the then Real Madrid midfielder first, the Bayern goalkeeper second and Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez in third.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Bayern’s Franck Ribery are thought to be the frontrunners for the 2013 award.

Sport Bild has revealed the votes of several players and national team managers for this year’s award, with Germany captain Lahm putting Bayern teammate Ribery ahead of Ronaldo and Messi.

Italy boss Cesare Prandelli and his captain Gianluigi Buffon both went for Azzurri midfielder Andrea Pirlo ahead of Ronaldo and Ribery, and Spain coach Vicente del Bosque voted for his midfield duo Xavi and Andres Iniesta, with Ribery in third. Spain captain Iker Casillas, meanwhile, opted for Ronaldo as his first choice, as did Russia boss Fabio Capello.

England captain Steven Gerrard voted for his Liverpool teammate Luis Suarez, while Ireland’s Robbie Keane made Ronaldo his player of the year, ahead of Messi and former Tottenham teammate Gareth Bale.

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