Finalists, Argentina and Germany produced seven of the candidates announced by FIFA on Friday.
Messi is nominated along with Argentina teammates Angel Di Maria and Javier Mascherano, while Germany provides four candidates: Mats Hummels, Toni Kroos, Philipp Lahm and Thomas Mueller.
Neymar is the only candidate from Brazil. Arjen Robben of the Netherlands and James Rodriquez of Colombia, the tournament’s top scorer with six goals, complete the list.
The players were selected by FIFA’s technical study group of coaching analysts and the winner is selected by the FIFA technical group and announced after the final.
The candidates for best young player are Memphis Depay of the Netherlands, and France pair Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane. Nominees for that award must have been born since Jan. 1, 1993.
Previous Golden Ball winners are:
1982 FIFA World Cup Spain: Paolo Rossi (Italy)
1986 FIFA World Cup Mexico: Diego Maradona (Argentina)
1990 FIFA World Cup Italy: Salvatore Schillaci (Italy)
1994 FIFA World Cup USA: Romario (Brazil)
1998 FIFA World Cup France: Ronaldo (Brazil)
2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan: Oliver Kahn (Germany)
2006 FIFA World Cup Germany: Zinedine Zidane (France)
2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa: Diego Forlan (Uruguay)