By Our Correspondent
Frenchman Antoine Griezmann has joined regulars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo on the shortlist for FIFA’s Player of the Year award on Friday.
Claudio Ranieri and Fernando Santos, the men behind two of the year’s biggest surprises, were nominated for the best coach award alongside Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane.
Germany’s Melanie Behringer, last year’s winner Carli Lloyd of the U.S. and Brazil’s five-time winner Marta were nominated for the women’s player of the year award.
Ronaldo helped Portugal win Euro 2016, although his performances were often criticised and he was injured early in the final against France.
He also won the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid.
Messi led Argentina to the final of the Copa Centenario, where they lost to Chile, and won La Liga with Barcelona.
Angry with the leadership of the Argentine FA, he briefly announced his international retirement but later back-tracked.
Atletico Madrid forward Griezmann earned a spot with his performances for France at Euro 2016.
Ronaldo and Messi have shared the award since 2008, with Messi winning five times to Ronaldo’s three.
It was the sixth time in a row both have featured in the final shortlist of three.
Ronaldo won in 2008, 2013, 2014 with Messi second on each occasion. Messi won from 2009-12 and again last year with Ronaldo second on every occasion except in 2010 when Andres Iniesta was runner-up.
In the coaching race, Italian Ranieri led Leicester City to the English Premier League title against all the odds while Santos won Euro 2016 with Portugal, their first major trophy.
The first FIFA award was held in 1991 when it was won by German Lothar Matthaeus.
The women’s player of the year of the award has been held every year since 2001.
From 2010 to last year inclusive, the awards were organised jointly with France Football magazine and known as the FIFA Ballon d’Or.
Following the split with the French publication, the ceremony, which will be held in Zurich on Jan. 9, has been renamed “The Best FIFA Football Awards’’.