London:Manchester United players dominated the nominations for the PFA Player of the Year award picked by their fellow professionals.
Last year's winner Cristiano Ronaldo, 35-year-old midfielder Ryan Giggs, goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, and defenders Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand all made the shortlist released on Tuesday by the Professional Football Association, the English players' union.
The voting took place before quintuple-chasing United's recent dip in form. Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is the only player on the list who does not play for the European and English champions.
Gerrard could benefit from a split vote for the Red Devils' players as Tottenham winger David Ginola did in 1999 when they won the treble in 1999.
United manager Alex Ferguson hopes Giggs, who has played at the club for his entire career, will finally win the award for the first time
"He has been fantastic for us this season _ he seems to be getting even better with age," Ferguson said earlier this season when Giggs agreed to a one-year contract extension that will keep him at the club until June 2010. "He could win the Footballer of the Year award and it would be fitting if he did after the career he has had."
Ronaldo will struggle to become the first player to win the award three times in a row since the Portugal international has failed to match last season's sensational form that produced 42 goals.
Van der Sar will be a strong challenger after keeping a British record 14 consecutive clean sheets earlier in the season.
United also has two defenders up for the Young Player of the Year award: Jonny Evans, the 21-year-old center back who has been filling in on a regular basis for Ferdinand, and Rafael da Silva, an 18-year-old Brazilian.
Aston Villa's rising stars Ashley Young, 23, and Gabriel Agbonlahor, 22, were also on the shortlist for that award, alongside Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland, 22, and Tottenham's 21-year-old winger Aaron Lennon.
The winners will be announced April 26.