Lionel Messi, Franck Ribéry and Cristiano Ronaldo have been shortlisted for the 2012/13 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award.
FC Barcelona striker Messi, FC Bayern München wide man Ribéry and Real Madrid CF forward Ronaldo came top in a poll of journalists from each of UEFA's member national associations, with the overall winner to be decided in a live vote in Monaco during the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League group stage draw today.
Messi won the Spanish Liga title with Barcelona last term, as well as his fifth world player of the year crown with a third successive FIFA Ballon d'Or, and ended the season with an extraordinary haul of 46 league goals.
Ribéry spearheaded the Bayern side that landed an extraordinary treble, cruising to the Bundesliga title and German Cup and beating Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League final at Wembley. He was also rewarded with a new contract at the club.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, top-scored in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League with 12 goals for Madrid and during the course of the campaign passed the 100-cap mark for Portugal.
In Monaco the journalists will vote live, via an electronic system, for their best player from the shortlist. Positions four to ten are already fixed after each journalist provided a list of their top five players, with the first receiving five points, the second four points and so on:
4 Arjen Robben (NED) – FC Bayern München (57 points)
5 Robert Lewandowski (POL) – Borussia Dortmund (39)
6 Thomas Müller (GER) – FC Bayern München (38)
7 Bastian Schweinsteiger (GER) – FC Bayern München (32)
8 Gareth Bale (WAL) – Tottenham Hotspur FC (24)
9 Zlatan Ibrahimović (SWE) – Paris Saint-Germain FC (14)
10 Robin van Persie (NED) – Manchester United FC (10)
This season marks the third edition of the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award, which was born out of an initiative by UEFA President Michel Platini in partnership with the European Sports Media (ESM) group. Andrés Iniesta lifted the 2011/12 award after Messi had prevailed in the inaugural edition of 2010/11.
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