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Inter Milan players lead UEFA award nominations

Five Inter Milan players have been included in the shortlist for the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year Award, though Barcelona's Lionel Messi is favourite to retain the prize he won last year.

Julio Cesar, Lucio, Maicon, Wesley Sneijder and Diego Milito ensure that the reigning European champions have a player in each of the award categories for best goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and forward.

Three players contest each position and the winners of each, plus the overall winner, will be named during the draw for the Champions League group stage in Monaco on August 26.

The nominations are decided by the coaches of the 16 teams that reached the knockout stage of the 2009-10 UEFA Champions League. Each coach has the opportunity of voting for the individual positional prizes as well as to name their choice for UEFA Club Footballer of the Year 2010.

The Club Footballer of the Year award has been running since 1998 - when Brazilian striker Ronaldo tooke home the prize - and if Messi were to retain the title, he would become the first player to win the award twice.

UEFA Club Footballer of the Year nominations:

• UEFA Best Goalkeeper of the Year - Julio Cesar (Inter Milan), Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Victor Valdes (Barcelona)

• UEFA Best Defender of the Year - Lucio (Inter Milan), Maicon (Inter Milan), Gerard Pique (Barcelona)

• UEFA Best Midfielder of the Year - Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich), Wesley Sneijder (Inter Milan)

• UEFA Best Forward of the Year - Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Diego Milito (Inter Milan), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)


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