Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery and Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid are the three finalists for the FIFA Ballon d’Or, France Football magazine said Monday.
Not since 2008 has anyone other than Messi won the award for the world’s best soccer player.
Ronaldo’s only Ballon d’Or so far came before the Argentine international’s run, while Ribery is a first-time finalist.
The Frenchman was a key part of Bayern’s 2012-2013 Bundesliga and Champions League titles, but the Ronaldo hat trick that secured a World Cup spot for Portugal in a playoff against Sweden last month may weigh more heavily with the voters.
Messi scored 56 goals in all competitions last season.
The trio of finalists emerged from a field of 25 nominees that included Gareth Bale, Radamel Falcao, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Andres Iniesta, Manuel Neuer, Neymar, Andrea Pirlo, Luis Suarez and Robin van Persie. among others.
The Ballon d’Or will be presented Jan. 13.