Lionel Messi joined by Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta on FIFA Ballon d'Or shortlist
Thursday 29 November 2012
Lionel Messi is in contention for a fourth successive FIFA Ballon d'Or crown after being named on a three-man shortlist today alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta.
Barcelona superstar Messi has enjoyed an incredible year and stands on the brink of another milestone.
His 82 goals in 2012 mean he is just three shy of former West Germany and Bayern Munich striker Gerd Muller's record of 85, set in 1972.
Ronaldo, who won the award in 2008, provides strong competition after playing a key role as Real Madrid edged arch-rivals Barca in the Primera Division title race.
The Portuguese scored a phenomenal 60 goals in all competitions in the 2011/12 season as Jose Mourinho's side also reached the last four of the Champions League before going down to Bayern Munich.
He already has 19 to his name so far this term.
Third nominee Iniesta is another who plies his trade in the Primera Division, for Barcelona.
The Spain playmaker has had an outstanding year, shining for both club and country.
His performances for the Catalan giants enabled them to finish a close second to Madrid in the title race while he shone at Euro 2012, being named as the tournament's best player as his country swept to a stunning success with a 4-0 thrashing of Italy in the final.
FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said: "It shows how strong football in Spain is.
"We have seen again what they did at the Euros and it will be interesting to see what happens in the Confederations Cup."
There was also a Spanish theme to the FIFA World Coach of the Year award.
National team boss Vicente Del Bosque was nominated for his role in guiding Spain to a successful defence of their European crown in Poland and Ukraine while former Barca boss Pep Guardiola and current Madrid coach Jose Mourinho were also named on the shortlist.
The winners will be announced on January 7.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal and Puma unveil world's first left-footed football
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?
Liverpool's best XI of the season so far: Raheem Sterling should play in the front three while Steven Gerrard remains on the bench
WWE Raw results: Brock Lesnar suspended for post-Wrestlemania 31 rampage after losing title to Seth Rollins
Liverpool injury news: Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren expected to be ready for Arsenal clash
- 1 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 2 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 3 Google April Fools': company unveils backwards search engine and huggable digital assistant
- 4 April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans