Messi’s Barcelona team mate Xavi and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo were also shortlisted.
Messi, who won the Ballon d’Or in 2009 and 2010, will be the favourite to complete a hat-trick of titles after his man-of-the-match performance helped the Spanish side beat Manchester United in the Champions League final in May.
Former France international and current UEFA President Michel Platini won the Ballon d’Or for three consecutive years from 1983.
Last year, the FIFA Player of the Year and the Ballon d’Or awards merged into the FIFA Ballon d’Or and votes now come from the coaches and captains of international teams as well as from journalists.
The winner will be announced on Jan. 9 in Zurich with 1987 Ballon d’Or winner Ruud Gullit of Netherlands presiding over the ceremony.