Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar will contest the 2015 Ballon d’Or after they were named as final nominees. Ronaldo and Messi have dominated the prize for the last seven years but both face strong competition this year from Messi’s Barcelona team-mate Neymar.
Ronaldo has claimed the last two Ballon d’Or awards with Messi winning the previous four editions of the award, the first of those given when it was known as the FIFA World Player of the Year prize. He has also been runner-up to Ronaldo on the three occasions the Portuguese has won it, the first of those in 2008. The winners will be announced at FIFA’s Ballon d’Or Gala in Zurich on January 11, with four other prizes also on offer.
They are the Women’s World Player of the Year, the men’s and women’s World Coach of the Year and the FIFA Puskas Award, given for the goal judged to be the best in the world in the past year. England women’s manager Mark Sampson – who led his team to third at the World Cup – is one of three candidates for the Women’s Coach of the Year accolade.
Elsewhere, a total of 55 players have been listed as nominees for the FIFA FIFPro World Team of the year and 10 of them play in the Premier League. Wayne Rooney is one of them, despite criticism of his form for Manchester United while John Terry is the only other Englishman.
David de Gea, Branislav Ivanovic, Vincent Kompany, Eden Hazard, David Silva, Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero and Alexis Sanchez are the others while Real Madrid’s Wales international Gareth Bale is also listed.