The Real Footie Analyst

Will Messi take the Ballon d’Or for the fourth successive year?

messi-3-ballons-dorLionel Messi will take on Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta as he bids to be named the best player in the world for the fourth successive year.

The Spain-based trio have been named on the shortlist for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award.

Barcelona superstar Messi has enjoyed an incredible year with 82 goals in 2012 to leave him three behind former West Germany and Bayern Munich striker Gerd Muller’s record of 85, set in 1972.

His biggest rival for the award is Ronaldo who scored a phenomenal 60 goals in all competitions last season as Real Madrid edged Barca to La Liga title. He has already bagged another 19 this season.

Third nominee Iniesta also enjoyed an outstanding year for Barca while he was named player of the tournament for Spain at Euro 2012 as he guided his side to victory over Italy in the final.

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said: “It shows how strong football in Spain is.

“We have seen again what they did at the Euros and it will be interesting to see what happens in the Confederations Cup.”

There was also a Spanish theme to the FIFA World Coach of the Year award.

Spain boss Vicente Del Bosque is up against former Barca manager Pep Guardiola and current Madrid coach Jose Mourinho for the title.

All the winners will be announced on January 7.

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