Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta are two of the three players named on the shortlist to win the UEFA Best Player in Europe award for the 2011-12 season. The third player to make the final three is Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo. Lionel Messi was the winner last year, the first year that the award was handed out.
Messi, winner of the Golden Boot and top scorer in the Champions League for the fourth year in a row, had an extraordinary season. Iniesta, for his part, won the European Championship with Spain and was named the best player of the tournament. The winner will be announced on August 30th during the Champions League group stage draw in Monaco, where journalists from around Europe will choose the winner live, using an electronic voting system.
Another blaugrana player, Xavi Hernández, finished in fifth place with 57 points. Points were tallied by having the voting journalists provide a list of their top five players from last season, with their top pick earning five points, second place four points, etc. Xavi finished just behind Andrea Pirlo (Juventus, 90 points), and ahead of Iker Casillas (Real Madrid, 53), Didier Drogba (Chelsea/Shanghai Shenhua, 31), Petr Cech (Chelsea, 14), Falcão (Atletico Madrid, 14), and Mesut Özil (Real Madrid, 10).