Lionel Messi, Franck Ribery and Cristiano Ronaldo were on Monday shortlisted for this year's Ballon d'Or, football's world governing body FIFA and sponsors France Football magazine said.
Barcelona forward Messi has already won the title four times but seems less of a hot favourite this year after an injury-hit season.
French winger Ribery was part of a Bayern Munich team that claimed an unprecedented treble of Champions League, German title and German Cup, as well as the European Supercup.
Real Madrid's Portugal striker Ronaldo won the 2008 Ballon d'Or and has been tipped to win the award this time around.
The Ballon d'Or will be presented in Zurich on January 13.