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
Lionel Messi dumps Jerome Boateng: The moment two-goal hero made Bayern Munich defender look like 'baby in a playpen'
Barcelona vs Bayern Munich match report: Lionel Messi double and Neymar strike put Barca on course for Champions League final
Floyd Mayweather mocks Manny Pacquiao: 'Winners win and losers have excuses'
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings
Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City in top eight of Forbes Rich List
- 2 Qataris pledge to expand Canary Wharf
- 3 #JeSuisEd: People share photos of themselves eating awkwardly in solidarity with Labour leader
- 4 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
- 5 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
General election live: Booths open at 7am across the country on polling day