La Liga - Messi heads Euro shortlist
Xavi, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been named on a three-man shortlist to contest the inaugural UEFA Best Player in Europe award.
The trophy, introduced as a replacement for the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year award, will be handed to the winner during the draw for the Champions League group stages on August 25.
Taking its cue from the now defunct Ballon d'Or, which was absorbed by FIFA last year, 53 European journalists have voted to decide the top 10, and will vote again live on the day to decide the winner.
The award is open to any player, irrespective of their nationality, who plays in a European league.
Messi, winner of the 2010 FIFA Ballon d'Or, as well as the European Footballer of the Year and World Player of the Year awards in 2009, is in contention after scoring 53 goals in all competitions for Barcelona as they won La Liga and the Champions League.
His team-mate Xavi could win his first major individual award since being named the best player of Euro 2008 while Real Madrid's Ronaldo, scorer of 54 goals last season, was named European Footballer of the Year and World Player of the Year in 2008.
The rest of the top 10 is as follows:
4 Andres Iniesta (ESP) – Barcelona
5 Falcao (COL) – Porto
6 Wayne Rooney (ENG) – Manchester United
7 Nemanja Vidic (SRB) – Manchester United
8 Zlatan Ibrahimovic (SWE) – Milan
9. Gerard Pique (ESP) – Barcelona
10 Manuel Neuer (GER) – Schalke