Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer up for Ballon d'Or
Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer have been announced as the final three names on the short list for the 2014 Ballon d'Or.
FIFA originally announced a list of 23 players, drawn up by its Football Committee with the help of French magazine France Football, in contention for the award five weeks ago.
That has now been whittled down to three, with Real Madrid forward Ronaldo the hot favourite to win the award for a third time, and a second successive year, at a ceremony in Zurich on Jan. 12, 2015.
Ronaldo and Barcelona striker Messi have had a duopoly on the award since 2008. Messi won the award four straight years from 2009-2012, while Ronaldo won it in 2008 and 2013.
The pair has also been named on the 15-man short list of forwards for the FIFA FIFPro World XI.
World Cup-winning Germany and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer completes the short list, though he is an outsider to become only the second goalkeeper to win the award -- the other being Dinamo Moscow's Lev Yashin in 1963.
2014 BALLON D'OR
- Ronaldo, Messi and Neuer battle for FIFA Ballon d'Or
- Five Aside: Stats behind the Ballon d'Or finalists
- Low, Ancelotti and Simeone up for World Coach of the Year
- Wambach and Marta compete for Women's Player of the Year
- FIFA FIFPro World XI: Goalkeeper nominees
- FIFA FIFPro World XI: Defence nominees
- FIFA FIFPro World XI: Midfield nominees
- FIFA FIFPro World XI: Forward nominees
The award was presented solely by France Football until 2009, and the publication joined with FIFA's World Player of the Year Award for the 2010 edition.
FIFA also announced on Monday that Joachim Low, Carlo Ancelotti and Diego Simeone have been selected as the final three candidates for the World Coach of the Year award, while Abby Wambach, Marta and Nadine Kessler will battle it out to be crowned Women's Player of the Year.
In addition, the nominees for the FIFA Puskas Award for the "most beautiful goal of the year" were announced.
The final three are: Stephanie Roche for Peamount United against Wexford Youths in October 2013; James Rodriguez for Colombia against Uruguay at the World Cup; and Robin van Persie for Netherlands vs. Spain which was also at the World Cup.