WORLD PLAYER OF the year Lionel Messi was named on Tuesday among the three finalists in the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award short-list along with Barcelona teammate Andres Iniesta and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
Argentina’s Messi beat Ronaldo and Xavi Hernandez last year to win the inaugural edition of the prize, which is awarded after a vote of European sports journalists.
The second edition will be presented in Monaco on August 30 on the sidelines of he draw for the Champions League group stages.
Messi was La Liga’s top scorer with 50 goals last season, four more than Ronaldo, and capped his season by winning a third Ballon d’Or title.
But Barcelona finished second behind Real Madrid who set records for most La Liga wins in a season with 32, most goals scored (121) and best goal difference (plus-89) en route to a first league title in four years.