Barcelona superstar Messi has enjoyed an incredible year and stands on the brink of another milestone.
He already has 19 to his name so far this term.
Third nominee Anders Iniesta is another who plies his trade in the Primera Division, for Barcelona.
The Spain playmaker has had an outstanding year, shining for both club and country.
His performances for the Catalan giants enabled them to finish a close second to Madrid in the title race while he shone at Euro 2012, being named as the tournament's best player as his country swept to a stunning success with a 4-0 thrashing of Italy in the final.
FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said: “It shows how strong football in Spain is.
“We have seen again what they did at the Euros and it will be interesting to see what happens in the Confederations Cup."
There was also a Spanish theme to the FIFA World Coach of the Year award.
Spain team boss Vicente Del Bosque was nominated for his role in guiding Spain to a successful defence of their European crown in Poland and Ukraine while former Barca boss Pep Guardiola and current Madrid coach Jose Mourinho were also named on the shortlist.
The winners will be announced on January 7.