Fifa has named the list of players shortlisted for the prize, with a host of star names battling it out for the crownThe 23-man shortlist for this year's Fifa Ballon d'Or trophy has been announced.
The selection contains 12 players who ply their trade in La Liga, including two-time winner Lionel Messi, who received the European Golden Shoe award on Monday.
Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to be a strong contender for the prestigious prize as well, having played a big role in his side's title success last season, with the help of fellow nominees Mesut Ozil, Iker Casillas, Karim Benzema, Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos.
The final decisions will be made by the captains and coaches of the national teams and international media representatives, before an announcement of the three finalists on November 29 in Sao Paulo.
The Ballon d'Or gala will take place at the Zurich Kongresshaus on January 7 2013, along with the presentation of the Presidential and Fair Play trophies on the same night.
|BALLON D'OR NOMINEES
|Sergio Aguero||Manchester City|
|Mario Balotelli||Manchester City|
|Karim Benzema||Real Madrid|
|Iker Casillas||Real Madrid|
|Didier Drogba||Shanghai Shenhua|
|Radamel Falcao||Atletico Madrid|
|Zlatan Ibrahimovic||Paris Saint-Germain|
|Manuel Neuer||Bayern Munich|
|Mesut Ozil||Real Madrid|
|Sergio Ramos||Real Madrid|
|Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid|
|Wayne Rooney||Manchester United|
|Yaya Toure||Manchester City|
|Robin van Persie||Manchester United|
|Xabi Alonso||Real Madrid|