By Paul Brown
Gerard Houllier insists he's not surprised to see no English players nominated for the prestigious Fifa Ballon d'Or award.
The Villa boss pinpointed the fact no domestic team made it through to the semi-finals of the Champions League and England failed to make the closing stages of the World Cup.
Seven of Spain's World Cup winning-squad have been shortlisted for the honour.
Andres Iniesta, who scored the winning goal in the final, is nominated along with Barcelona team-mates Xavi, Carles Puyol and David Villa. Real Madrid's Iker Casillas and Xabi Alonso are also listed.
Houllier said: "The Ballon D'Or usually takes into account the World Cup or the European Championships of that year and also if a player has won the Champions League for instance.
"I mean no English team won the Champions League for 2010 and England went out in the second round in South Africa. That's why. It's not a surprise.
"You can imagine players who were with Barcelona in the semi-final and those who won the World Cup would be there.
Players who have never won it are the likes of Xavi and Iniesta."
The award was previously only for players in Europe but has now merged with Fifa's World Player of the year prize into one ultimate honour.