Lionel Messi looks on track for a record equalling third straight Ballon d’Or after the Barcelona and Argentina forward was named in the three man shortlist for the prize.
Also for the third year in a row the top three are from Spain’s La Liga.
Messi has been joined by Barca teammate Xavi and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who won the accolade in 2008.
Messi, who won the Ballon d’Or in 2009 and 2010, has been tipped as favourite again after his man-of-the-match performance helped the Catalan giants beat Manchester United in the Champions League final in May.
The winner will be announced on January 9 in Zurich.