Barcelona trio Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta shortlisted for Fifa Ballon d'Or
Barcelona trio Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta have been shortlisted for the FIFA Ballon d'Or.
Midfielders Xavi and Iniesta have enjoyed a wonderful year at both domestic and international level, enjoying success in the Primera Division with Barca and the World Cup with Spain.
But Messi is the favourite to claim the award in Zurich on January 10 after another phenomenal 12 months.
He scored 34 goals in Barca's La Liga success while he already has 15 to his name this season.
The only blemish was a goalless World Cup as Argentina exited at the quarter-final stage to Germany.
The FIFA Ballon d'Or is a new award after the two major player prizes - the FIFA World Player of the year, voted for by players and coaches, and the Ballon d'Or, which was handed out by journalists via France Football magazine - merged.
Messi won both crowns in 2009.
The three women shortlisted were Brazilian Marta, a four-time FIFA Women's World Player of the Year, and German duo Fatmire Bajramaj and Birgit Prinz.
Barca's Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, who won an unprecedented Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League treble with Inter Milan before switching to Real Madrid in the summer, and Spain's World Cup-winning coach Vicente del Bosque were shortlisted for the male coach of the year award.
Maren Meinert (Germany Under-20 national team), Silvia Neid (Germany national team) and Pia Sundhage (United States national team) will contest the women's category.
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