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Goal.com nominates the top three standout performers for Barcelona - have your say in the comments section below!

Barcelona missed out on the Primera Division last season, but the Catalans are on course to win a fourth title in five years as they lead La Liga by 13 points with just seven rounds remaining.

The Blaugrana are also in contention for a third Champions League win in five seasons, having reached the semi-final stage as they seek a double success like the one achieved in 2010-11.

Not bad at all for a campaign in which coach Tito Vilanova has been laid low with a relapse of his cancer and a series of defenders have been sidelined at key times, including Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Adriano and now Javier Mascherano.

Adriano has been on fantastic form this term and has even slotted in seamlessly at centre-back for the Catalan club, while fellow defender Jordi Alba has been hugely impressive since his summer switch from Valencia. Dani Alves is returning to his best after a rocky start to the campaign, while Victor Valdes has shaken off some early mistakes to shine for Barca this season. Xavi remains the pulse of the side and Cristian Tello is the emerging talent with his pace and goals from wide positions. However, none of those made it onto the final shortlist for Barca's best player in 2012-13.

So below, in alphabetical order, are Goal.com's three nominees for Barcelona's player of the season, based on their club performances in all competitions.

SERGIO BUSQUETS | MIDFIELDER
Competition Games
Goals Assists Booked
Sent off
League 27 1 2 9 0
Copa del Rey 4 0 0 1 0
Europe 7 0 0 1 1
Others 2 0 0 0 0
Total 40 1 2 11 1

Sergio Busquets is Barcelona's unsung hero and the man who provides a strong shield for the Catalans' four-man back line.

Tactically very intelligent, Busquets' reading of the game is second to none and he has developed into one of the world's finest defensive midfielders in the world over the last few seasons.

His goal and assist stats may look ordinary, but Busquets' role allows Barca the balance to play their free-flowing football and possession-based game. Sergio's interceptions, his protection of the defence, ball-winning and peerless positioning make much of that possible, while he has also improved his skill set and range of passing in 2012-13.

Understated and underrated by many, the midfielder has received huge praise from key figures in the game and is perhaps the ultimate 'player's player'. This Barca side has benefited from his brilliance - and his incredible consistency - this term. In fact, Tito's team wouldn't make sense without him.

ANDRES INIESTA | MIDFIELDER
Competition Games
Goals Assists Booked
Sent off
League 24 2 14 3 0
Copa del Rey 5 2 3 0 0
Europe 8 1 2 0 0
Others 2 0 2 0 0
Total 39 5 21 3 0

Alongside Busquets, Andres Iniesta is again making headlines for the Catalan club this term. The Spain star was La Roja's stand-out performer in their Euro 2012 success and went on to win the prize for the continent's finest footballer last year, beating Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to that accolade.

Iniesta has featured further forward on the left at times this season, but his best showings have invariably come when he has been playing in his favoured midfield role. And his finest performance of all arrived in the 4-0 win at Levante, when Barca played with an XI made up entirely of La Masia graduates for a full hour back in November with Iniesta stealing the show with one goal and three assists in a sublime display.

While Busquets provides stability in midfield, Iniesta adds an element of fantasy and the Spain star has been continually compared to former France great Zinedine Zidane in recent months. He also finished third in the latest Ballon d'Or, behind Messi and Ronaldo, and has racked up a total of 21 assists for the Blaugrana this term. But perhaps most significantly of all, he has succeeded Xavi as Barca's most important midfielder in 2012-13, just like Pep Guardiola once predicted he would all those years ago.

LIONEL MESSI | FORWARD
Competition Games
Goals Assists Booked
Sent off
League 29 43 13 1
0
Copa del Rey 5 4 1 1 0
Europe 10 8 3 0 0
Others 2 2 0 0 0
Total 46 57 17 2 0

Lionel Messi is currently recovering from the hamstring injury which restricted his performances in both legs of the recent Champions League quarter-final tie with Paris Saint-Germain, but the Argentine attacker has enjoyed another sensational season for Barcelona, hitting 57 goals so far (in just 46 games in all competitions) and setting up many more along the way.

In December, Messi surpassed Gerd Muller's mark for goals in a calendar year (85 in 1972) and went on to end 2012 with 91 strikes for club and country. And his record tally from last season (73, which beat Muller's 67 in 1972-73) now also looks in danger with up to 10 games remaining for the Rosario native with Barca this term.

Barca have struggled when Messi has failed to shine over the last couple of years and the Argentine's influence was evident as a limping Leo was enough to inspire the Catalans to victory over PSG when the tie had looked to be going against them in last week's quarter-final second leg. Just his presence gave the team a huge lift and he remains the main inspiration for this talented team.

For the latest in its series looking at all of Europe's top clubs, however, Goal.com has narrowed down the candidates for Barca's Player of the Season to just three names. Look them over and leave a comment if you disagree!



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