15th of August 2012 Author: Glo Wood
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, probably the best two soccer players in the world, will go up against each other once again for Uefa's Best Player in Europe award. Last year's winner Messi is joined in the final three by Barcelona team-mate Andres Iniesta, while Real Madrid's Ronaldo is on the shortlist for a second consecutive year.
The winner will be announced in Monaco on the same day as the Champions League group stage draw, on 30 August.
Lionel Messi had 60 appearances and no less than 72 goals in the 2011-2012 season while Cristiano Ronaldo had 61 appearances and 66 goals. Andres Iniesta's statistics can not compare with those of his competitors, as he had 46 appearances and just 6 goals.
Bangor City's Les Davies was a surprise inclusion on the original 32-man list but he didn't get the final nomination, as expected. His original single nomination was believed to be from a Welsh journalist and it was enough to earn his place on the 32-man list. Juventus' Andrea Pirlo and Barcelona's Xavi Hernandez, who came second last year, just missed out the final three.
Lionel Messi, current Fifa Ballon d'Or holder for the world's best player of 2011, was the clear winner of the European award last season with 39 votes, way ahead Xavi who was second with just 11 votes. Last season Cristiano Ronaldo managed just three votes.
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