Iniesta, Ronaldo and Messi on Ballon d'Or shortlist

Iniesta, Ronaldo and Messi on Ballon d'Or shortlist
By Eurosport

30/11/2012 at 00:24Updated 30/11/2012 at 20:05

Great rivals Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are joined on a three-man shortlist for the FIFA Ballon d'Or award by Andres Iniesta.

The three stars were also shortlisted for UEFA's Best Player in Europe award, won by Barcelona and Spain midfielder Iniesta in August after his success in inspiring his country to win Euro 2012 and winning the player of the tournament award.

However, Barca team-mate Messi is favourite to secure the FIFA award on January 7 and become the first man to be named the world's greatest player for four years in succession.

Messi has scored a remarkable 82 goals for club and country in 2012 - just three short of Gerd Mueller's all-time record from 1972 - and though it was Ronaldo's Real Madrid who won the Spanish title, Messi scored a barely believable 50 goals in the 2011-12 league campaign.

The Argentina forward won both the FIFA World Player of the Year and the Ballon d'Or in 2009, before then claiming the award in 2010 and 2011 when the two prizes were amalgamated.

Ronaldo won both previous awards in 2008 when he helped Manchester United record a Premier League and Champions League double.

Spanish football also dominates the World Coach of the Year shortlist, with national team coach Vicente del Bosque, Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho and his former rival at Barcelona, Pep Guardiola, all included.

Del Bosque oversaw Spain's triumph at Euro 2012, Mourinho won the Liga title with a record tally of 100 points and, while Guardiola only won the Copa del Rey, his Barcelona side left an indelible mark on the game in 2012.

The nominees for the FIFA Puskas Award, given to the scorer of the best goal of the year, are Falcao (Atletico Madrid v America de Cali), Neymar (Santos v Internacional) and Miroslav Stoch (Fenerbahce v Genclerbirligi).

Brazil's Marta was joined by USA's Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach on the shortlist for the women's player award, while France's Bruno Bini, Japan's Norio Sasaki and USA coach Pia Sundhage are in contention for the manager award.

The shortlists were announced at a press conference in Sao Paulo. Candidates were voted for by international captains and head coaches as well as international media representatives.