Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will go up against each other again for Uefa’s Best Player in Europe award.
Last year’s winner Messi is joined in the final three by Barcelona team-mate Andres Iniesta, while Real Madrid’s Ronaldo makes it two years in a row on the shortlist.
The winner will be announced on 30 August in Monaco on the same day as the Champions League group stage draw.
Juventus’ Andrea Pirlo and Barcelona’s Xavi Hernandez, who came second last year, just missed out.
Messi, current Fifa Ballon d’Or holder for the world’s best player of 2011, was the clear winner of the European award last season with 39 votes. Xavi was second with 11, while Ronaldo managed just three.
This year it should be a closer vote. Messi was brilliant last season, scoring 73 goals in 60 games for Barcelona. he won the ESM Golden Shoe with was the top scorer in the Champions League for the fourth successive season with a record total of 14.
Ronaldo managed a “mere” 60 goals for Real Madrid last season, but those goals helped Madrid claim their first Liga title in four years.
As for I Iniesta he has the misfortune of competing against the two best players in the world. I expect him to come in third in this year’s voting despite being voted Best Player of the Tournament at UEFA EURO 2012 simply