Cristiano Ronaldo, Andrés Iniesta and title holder Lionel Messi have been nominated on the final three-man shortlist for the FIFA Ballon d'Or award to be announced in January.
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Cristiano Ronaldo, Andrés Iniesta and three-time winner Lionel Messi have been named on the final three-man shortlist for the FIFA Ballon d'Or award which will be announced in January.
Messi is in line to land the top prize for the fourth successive year after a prolific 12 months, and today's nominations also cap a memorable year for the forward's FC Barcelona team-mate and Spanish international midfielder Andrés Iniesta – who won the Best Player of the Tournament prize at UEFA EURO 2012 before picking up the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award in August. Ronaldo's goals inspired Real Madrid CF to the 2011/12 Liga title and his performances at UEFA EURO 2012 were a key factor in Portugal reaching the semi-finals.
The FIFA Ballon d'Or is an amalgam of the France Football Ballon d'Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year. The list was announced together with the candidates for FIFA Women's World Player 2012 – namely, Brazil's Marta, who lifted the Swedish title with Tyresö FF, and United States duo Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach.
FIFA also revealed the respective contenders for the accolades of FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men's Football 2012 and FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women's Football 2012. After masterminding Spain's EURO success it is no surprise to see Vicente del Bosque make the cut alongside Madrid coach José Mourinho and former Barcelona boss Josep Guardiola. Bruno Bini, Norio Saski and Pia Sundhage will compete for the women's honour.
The FIFA Puskás prize for most beautiful goal of the year is also up for grabs. Club Atlético de Madrid forward Falcao is nominated for his strike in a friendly against América de Cali, Santos FC's Neymar for his effort against SC Internacional in the Copa Libertadores, while Fenerbahçe SK's Slovakia midfielder Miroslav Stoch completes the list with a Turkish Super League goal against Gençlerbirliği SK.
All the nominees were confirmed after a poll in which the captains and head coaches of the men's and women's national teams, as well as international media representatives selected by France Football, voted for candidates.
FIFA Ballon d'Or
FIFA Women's World Player
FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men's Football 2012
Vicente del Bosque
FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women's Football 2012
FIFA Puskás award