Iniesta, Messi & Ronaldo shortlisted for award
Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi & Cristiano Ronaldo make UEFA Best Player in Europe Award shortlist
Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been rewarded for their exploits over the past 12 months by being named as the three players on the shortlist for the 2011/12 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award.
The trio emerged as the leading candidates from an initial 32-player list for the award after a round of voting from 53 journalists representing each UEFA member association.
Messi has been installed as the early favourite to defend the crown he won a year ago following his record-breaking goalscoring season for Barcelona.
The Argentina international scored an incredible 73 times in 60 games for Barca, beating Gerd Muller's 39 year old European goalscoring record.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, played an instrumental role in ensuring Real Madrid beat Barcelona to the Spanish title for the first time since 2008, with Los Blancos breaking new ground in terms of points gained and goals scored.
Iniesta was named the Player of the Tournament after Spain's historic triumph at Euro 2012 earlier this summer.
Juventus' Andrea Pirlo was polled the fourth highest amount of votes, followed by Spain midfielder Xavi in fifth and La Roja captain Iker Casillas in sixth.
Germany international Mesut Ozil made up the top 10 after another impressive season at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The top three will now go into a deciding vote in Monaco during the Champions League group stage draw on August 30.