FIFA have named Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery as the three nominations from a 10-player shortlist for the prestige Ballon d'Or award.
The award, which honours the World Player of the Year, has been won for the last four years by Messi, and Ronaldo topped the poll in 2008.
Despite not winning any silverware last season Portugal's Ronaldo is favourite to end Messi's reign when the results are announced on the 13th of January.
The 28-year-old has 25 goals for Madrid this season and bagged a stunning hat-trick as Portugal beat Sweden in a World Cup qualifying playoff.
Messi scored 56 times for Barcelona last season, helping the Catalans win the Spanish title while Ribery helped Bayern Munich win the Bundesliga and the Champions League.