The 10-man shortlist has been reduced to three, with Cristiano Ronaldo set to battle it out with Bayern Munich's Arjen Robben and Manuel Neuer.
The players were named as part of an initial 10-man shortlist announced in July, which included Angel di Maria, Diego Costa, Luis Suarez, Messi, Philipp Lahm, James Rodriguez and Thomas Muller.
Current Ballon d'Or holder Ronaldo has now been voted into the final three, along with Bayern Munich's star winger Robben and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who added the World Cup to his Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal successes last season.
The winner will be announced Aug. 28 in Monaco during the group stage draw for the Champions League.
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The UEFA Best Player prize began in 2011 under an initiative from UEFA president Michel Platini and European Sports Media group. Messi won the first prize, before Andres Iniesta in 2012 and Franck Ribery last year.
A jury of journalists from each of UEFA's member associations voted for the initial 10-man shortlist, using a system of points. A panel of 54 experts will now vote live Aug. 28 for the winner. The positions of the remaining seven players in the list will stay the same.
The final three nominees for the Best Women's Player in Europe were also unveiled, with Nilla Fischer, Nadine Kessler and Martina Muller the names to garner the most votes.
UEFA Best Player nominees — remaining top 10 (in order of voting):
4: Thomas Muller (Bayern)
T-5: Philipp Lahm (Bayern)
T-5: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
7: James Rodriguez (Real Madrid)
8: Luis Suarez (Barcelona)
9: Angel di Maria (Real Madrid)
10: Diego Costa (Chelsea)