Barcelona's creative triumvirate of Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez Creus and Andres Iniesta have been shortlisted for the FIFA Ballon d'Or award, with the winner to be crowned the world's best player of 2010. APMessi, Iniesta and Xavi have been the architects of Barca's success in recent years The FIFA Ballon d'Or merges the two major player prizes - the FIFA World Player of the year, voted for by players and coaches, and the Ballon d'Or, which was handed out by journalists via France Football magazine - for the first time next month. Messi picked up both awards last year but is the outsider to claim it again in Zurich on January 10 despite a phenomenal 12 months. He netted 34 goals in Barca's 2009-10 La Liga success while he has started the new season in blistering scoring form claiming 22 goals in just 18 games - with 19 of those coming in his last 12 appearances. The only blemish for the diminutive playmaker was a goalless World Cup for Argentina, as Diego Maradona's side exited at the quarter-final stage to Germany. That is the main reason why the award is likely to go to one of Spain's world champions. In contention to usurp Messi as the world's best player are his club team-mates Xavi and Iniesta - who are joint favourites to win the award. The midfielders have enjoyed a wonderful year at both domestic and international level, having triumphed in the Primera Division with Barca and the World Cup with Spain. However, Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti criticised the absence of Inter and Holland midfielder Wesley Sneijder from the shortlist. Sneijder was widely regarded as Inter's best player in their treble-winning season and also impressed as the Dutch reached the World Cup final. ''I find it very unfair,'' Moratti said on Inter's official website. ''Sneijder had a phenomenal year, won everything he could have won. For me he deserved the Ballon d'Or. It seems unfair the award is to be given to someone who, although a great player, didn't have the same level of performance throughout the year.'' The three women shortlisted were Brazilian Marta, a four-time FIFA Women's World Player of the Year, and German duo Fatmire Bajramaj and Birgit Prinz. Barca's Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, who won an unprecedented Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League treble with Inter Milan before switching to Real Madrid in the summer, and Spain's World Cup-winning coach Vicente del Bosque were shortlisted for the male Coach of the Year award. Maren Meinert (Germany Under-20 national team), Silvia Neid (Germany national team) and Pia Sundhage (United States national team) will contest the women's category.