Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Messi on FIFA shortlist

Society Materials 1 December 2007 01:47 (UTC +04:00)

FIFA named Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, Brazil's Kaka and Argentina's Lionel Messi on Friday as the three finalists for the 2007 World Player of the Year award.

The world soccer body said the trio were confirmed after a poll of coaches and captains of national teams around the world selected them from a 30-strong shortlist.

The winner, who will succeed Fabio Cannavaro of Italy and Real Madrid from last year's competition, will be announced at the FIFA World Player Gala in Zurich on Dec 17.

If Kaka gets the nod it is likely to mean a double triumph, with the Brazilian set to be named winner of the Ballon d'Or on Sunday.

Kaka was the inspiration behind AC Milan's Champions League success last season, finishing top scorer in the competition with 10 goals.

The 25-year-old opted to sit out the Copa America but he was hardly missed, as Brazil went on to take the trophy with a 3-0 victory over Argentina in the final.

Messi was in the Argentina side that lost that match.

The Barcelona forward, still only 20, missed out on the Spanish title last season - won by Real Madrid. Among the highlights of his year was the hat-trick he scored in a 3-3 draw with Real in the Primera Liga.

Ronaldo, 22, led Manchester United to the Premier League title last season, scoring 17 league goals.

He also helped United reach the semi-finals of the Champions League, where they lost to Milan. ( Reuters )