The top three finalists for FIFA's player of the year award have been announced. It will come down to a decision among Lionel Messi, Franck Ribery, and Cristiano Ronaldo for football's best player.
On Monday, FIFA, the governing body of world football, announced the shortlist for the prestigious Ballon d'Or prize, given every year to the world's best soccer player.
Barcelona's Argentine superstar and four-time defending Ballon d'Or winner, Lionel Messi, made the cut, as did Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo from rivals Real Madrid. Frenchman Franck Ribery (pictured above) rounded out the list of three contenders. He helped lead the German Bundesliga side Bayern Munich to league, cup, and Champions League titles in the 2012/13 season.
Ribery's coach from last season, Jupp Heynckes, made the top three in the Coach of the Year category. Joining Heynckes is Borussia Dortmund's coach, Jürgen Klopp, whose squad finished second in the Champions League to Bayern Munich. Retired Manchester United coaching legend Alex Ferguson completed the list of nominated coaches.
The top three women's players are Germany goalkeeper Nadine Angerer, Brazil's Marta (who has won the honor five times running), and Abby Wambach from the US national team.
Germany is also represented in the women's coaching category, with national team coach Silvia Neid among the top three for that prize. Ralf Kellermann, head coach of the treble-winning Wolfsburg, is also in contention, as is Sweden's national team coach, Pia Sundhage.
The winners in each category will be announced in a ceremony on January 13.
mz/mkg (dpa, AFP)