Zurich, Nov 30: Lionel Messi is in line to win his fourth successive FIFA Ballon d'Or award after being shortlisted alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta.
Messi, 25, has won the title thrice in a row and Barcelona star is favourite to win the crown, which will be presented in Zurich on Jan 7 after votes from Journalists, national team captains and coaches.
The Argentine sensation has had an incredible year and is on the verge of breaking yet another record. Messi has scored 82 goals in 2012 which is only three short of Gerd Muller's record of 85 goals in a calender year in 1972.
Messi closest rival is Real Madrid star Ronaldo who won the award back in 2008. The Portuguese winger helped Real pip Barcelona in the La Liga title race, scoring an outstanding 60 goal in all competitions during the 2011/12 season. Ronaldo, 27, also helped his side reach the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League but lost to Bayern Munich.
The former Manchester United star single-handedly helped his national side reach the semi-final in the UEFA Euro 2012 championships losing to Iberian rivals Spain on penalties.
Another well deserved candidate, Iniesta, who beat both Ronaldo and Messi to win the European player of the year award will compete with the two superstars again. The 28-year-old helped Spain retain the European championship in Poland-Ukraine where he was named player of the tournament.
Spain national team coach Vicente Del Bosque is favourite to win the FIFA World Coach of the Year title after guiding Spain to a successful campaign in Euro 2012 while former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola and real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho were also shortlisted.