He’s already been named the best international athlete at the Espy Awards… And now Lionel Messi could be named the best fútbol player in Europe.
The 25-year-old Argentine soccer sensation, who has won FIFA’s Ballon d’Or for three years in a row, has been shortlisted for the 2011-12 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award. He’ll face-off against his Futbol Club Barcelona teammate Andrés Iniesta and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
The three soccer stars gained the most points in a vote among 53 sports journalists representing each of the European soccer governing body’s member associations. The finalists are all being recognized for their great performance overall performance last season.
Juventus playmaker Andrea Pirlo came in fourth in the election, while Barcelona’s Xavi, who finished second in last year’s edition of the award, rounded out the top five.
The remaining three players will now go into a deciding vote in Monaco during the Champions League group stage draw on August 30.
Messi was the last year’s winner.