Sydney, Nov 30(ANI): Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta have been named as the three finalists for FIFA’s world player of the year award, also known as the Ballon d’Or.
These three were picked from a list of 23 candidates for this year’s Ballon d’Or, with Messi looking to become the first player to win the award four times, but facing stiff competition from Ronaldo.
The Barcelona playmaker, Messi has won the award for the last three years.
“I think they are perfect picks. There is no doubt these players are among the best,” News.com.au quoted former Brazil great Ronaldo, a three-time award winner, as saying.
“Messi and Ronaldo are really the only ones with a chance of winning, that’s how it’s been recently,” he added.
The winner will be announced in Switzerland on Jan. 7. The only two other players to have won the FIFA award three times are Ronaldo and former France great Zinedine Zidane.
Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque, former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola and Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho were in the running for the world coach of the year award.
The 25-year-old Messi earlier this year won his second Golden Boot award for scoring the most goals in Europe’s domestic leagues last season.
Messi has scored 82 goals this calendar year, putting him only three shy of Gerd Mueller’s record.
Messi won last year’s Ballon d’Or prize over Ronaldo, who scored a team leading 46 goals last season for Real Madrid. (ANI)