UEFA have snubbed Paul Pogba and Neymar in UEFA's 10 nominees for the 2015/16 Best Player in Europe award.
Journalists from UEFA's 55 member associations were asked for their own five choices as the best player in the continent last season.
Messi's teammate Luis Suarez also makes the list having scored 40 goals as Barcelona won La Liga.
From the list of 10 nominees, three shortlisted finalists will be announced on 5 August, and the final vote will take place via electronic live voting during the Champions League group stage draw on 25 August.
Since the award was created in 2011, Messi is the only player to have lifted it twice (2011 and 2015). The other previous winners are Andres Iniesta (2012), Franck Ribery (2013) and Cristiano Ronaldo (2014).
10-man shortlist (in alphabetical order)
Gareth Bale (Real Madrid & Wales)
Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus & Italy)
Antoine Griezmann (Atlético Madrid & France)
Toni Kroos (Real Madrid & Germany)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina)
Thomas Müller (Bayern München & Germany)
Manuel Neuer (Bayern München & Germany)
Pepe (Real Madrid & Portugal)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid & Portugal)
Luis Suárez (Barcelona & Uruguay)