Date: 4th December 2016 at 8:54pm
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On Friday, FIFA announced the final three shortlist for the 2016 FIFA Best Men’s Player award.

The original 23 man shortlist previously released has now been whittled down to the final three contenders for the 2016 prize and the winner will be announced at The Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony at the Zurich TPC studios on January 9, 2017 – along with FIFA’s other awards categories for the last campaign.

The final three for the award and FIFA’s blurb on them is as follows:

Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

‘Cristiano Ronaldo will forever remember 2016 as the year in which he was crowned a European champion twice. First he triumphed in the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid, clinching the title by scoring the last penalty in the shoot-out. This was a fitting way to cap a campaign in which he finished top of the competition’s scoring charts with 16 goals, seven more than second-placed Robert Lewandowski. Then as Portugal captain, Cristiano had the honour of lifting the first major trophy in his country’s history at UEFA EURO 2016, secured by upsetting hosts France in the final in Paris. With his irrepressible thirst for goals, power and speed, Ronaldo continues to amass silverware and records in abundance.’

Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)

‘Having been named the best player both in the Spanish league, in which he helped Atletico Madrid finish third, and at the UEFA EURO, 2016 will go down as the year in which Antoine Griezmann truly came into his own. With 40 goals over the course of the 2015/16 campaign, he spearheaded Atletico and France’s respective charges to the finals of the UEFA Champions League and EURO 2016, although both ended in heart-wrenching defeats. A skilful, unselfish attacker, the 5’9 (1.76m) schemer can quite simply do the lot. As Griezmann himself recently told, he is a ‘more complete player now’ than ever before and has ‘improved in every way in the last two years’. One person who would certainly echo this view is his coach Diego Simeone, who is on record as saying that the man they now call Grizou has raised his game to such an extent that he is currently ‘among the top three players in the world.’

Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

‘Lionel Messi shows no signs of letting up. After rounding off 2015 by collecting the adidas Silver Ball at the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan, he continued to figure large for club and country in 2016. In winning his eighth La Liga winner`s medal with Barcelona, he chipped in with 20 goals (putting him third in the scoring charts) and an impressive 16 assists, and also won the Copa del Rey for a fourth time with Los Blaugrana and the Spanish Super Cup for the seventh time. La Pulga also starred for Argentina on their run to the final of Copa America Centenario, serving up more assists in the tournament than any other player and ending it as the second highest scorer. In the process, Messi also became La Albiceleste`s leading all-time goalscorer.’

The overall winner will be selected through a combined voting process, which will see 50% of the votes awarded based on the choice of all captains and head coaches of national teams across the planet we call Earth, and the remaining 50% of the votes will be split between an online ballot of fans and also submissions from a select group of over 200 media representatives across the six continents.

The initial 23 man shortlist and those who miss out this year, are as follows:

Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)
Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid),
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United-Paris Saint-Germain)
Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)
N’Golo Kante (Chelsea-Leicester City)
Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)
Neymar (Barcelona)
Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)
Dimitri Payet (West Ham)
Paul Pogba (Manchester United-Juventus)
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)
Luis Suarez (Barcelona)
Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)