Santos star Neymar shortlisted for FIFA Ballon d’Or 2012
The 20-year-old Brazilian has scored 38 goals in 43 games in 2012 for the Peixe, many of which were in spectacular fashion.
Neymar was also shortlisted last year and won the FIFA Puskas prize for the best goal of 2011, ahead of Wayne Rooney, for his fantastic goal against Flamengo in July.
Lionel Messi, who has won the last two awards, and Cristiano Ronaldo lead the way as favourites for this year’s coveted prize.
The list of 23 male candidates has been drawn up by football experts from the FIFA Football Committee.
The three players who receive the most votes will be announced as finalists at a press conference in São Paulo on November 29.
The overall winners of all of the awards will be revealed at the FIFA Ballon d’Or gala as part of a televised show at the Zurich Kongresshaus on January 7.
Brazil star Marta has also been nominated for the FIFA Women's World Player award.
Full 23-man Ballon d'Or shortlist
Sergio Aguero (ARG/Manchester City)
Mario Balotelli (ITA/Manchester City)
Karim Benzema (FRA/Real Madrid)
Gianluigi Buffon (ITA/Juventus Turin)
Sergio Busquets (ESP/FC Barcelona)
Iker Casillas (ESP/Real Madrid)
Didier Drogba (CIV/Chelsea, Shanghai Shenhua)
Radamel Falcao (COL/Atlético Madrid)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (SWE/Milan AC, Paris-SG)
Andres Iniesta (ESP/FC Barcelona)
Lionel Messi (ARG/FC Barcelona)
Manuel Neuer (GER/Bayern Munich)
Mesut Ozil (GER/Real Madrid)
Gerard Pique (ESP/FC Barcelona)
Andrea Pirlo (ITA/Juventus Turin)
Sergio Ramos (ESP/Real Madrid)
Cristiano Ronaldo (POR/Real Madrid)
Wayne Rooney (ENG/Manchester United)
Yaya Toure (CIV/Manchester City)
Robin van Persie (NED/Arsenal, Manchester United)
Xabi Alonso (ESP/Real Madrid)
Xavi Hernandez (ESP/FC Barcelona)