PARIS, France, December 5 – Holder Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Xavi were on Monday named on the final three-man shortlist for the 2011 FIFA Ballon d’Or award, which will be presented at a ceremony in Zurich on January 9.
Barcelona superstar Messi won the inaugural award — a combination of the France Football Ballon d’Or prize and FIFA’s World Player of the Year award — last year, having picked up both awards in 2009.
His great Real Madrid rival Ronaldo had won both awards the previous year.
Messi’s Barcelona team-mate Xavi was also shortlisted for the 2010 prize and finished in third place, behind another Barca colleague, Andres Iniesta.
The three-man shortlist was unveiled during a press conference at France Football headquarters in Paris attended by FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke.