If successful, the brilliant Barcelona and Argentina forward would become the first man to be crowned the world's best footballer on four occasions, French legend Zinedine Zidane and Brazilian great Ronaldo both having also claimed the honour on three occasions.
Messi has enjoyed a series of incredible years but broke new ground in 2012 in goalscoring terms, breaking Gerd Muller's record for the number of goals scored in a calendar year and finishing with a staggering 91.
The 25-year-old produced his usual array of jaw-dropping individual efforts among his incredible haul and is favourite to win another Ballon d'Or but faces stiff competition from Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta.
Ronaldo enjoyed a hugely successful 2012, leading the way as Real Madrid overcame Messi and Barcelona to claim the Spanish title for the first time since 2008 and helping Portugal to reach the semi-finals of Euro 2012.
The 27-year-old former Manchester United man is almost as prolific as Messi and he finished the 2011/12 season with 60 goals in all competitions, becoming the first player to score against every other team in a single league season.
However, Barcelona seem to have regained domestic supremacy in the current Spanish campaign, with Messi and team mate Iniesta to the fore in their record-breaking start to the season.
And midfield string-puller Iniesta was also named player of the tournament at Euro 2012, having enjoyed an outstanding event as Spain claimed their third successive major international prize.