Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo are the other two finalists. Juventus striker Paulo Dybala finished in sixth place in the voting behind Real Madrid’s Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.
The trio were selected by a jury of 80 coaches of the teams that competed in last season's Champions League and Europa League group stages, as well as 55 members from the media who were selected by the European Sports Media (ESM) group. Managers are not allowed to vote for their players.
It’s the first time Buffon has made the shortlist, as he attempts to be the first goalkeeper to win the award. Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer came the closest with a runner-up finish to Ronaldo in 2014.
Buffon posted 22 clean sheets last season, including nine during the Champions League. His stellar work in net helped Juventus reach the Champions League final for the second time in three years. Domestically, Buffon had 13 shutouts in 30 games as Juventus completed a double with Serie A and Coppa Italia titles for the third consecutive season.
Ronaldo edged out Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann and Madrid teammate Gareth Bale to win the award last year for the second time in three years. Messi has won the award twice in 2011 and 2015. Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery (2013) is the only player not from Spain to win the award.
A winner will be named Aug. 24 during the Champions League group stage draw.