Usual suspects Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi make the Ballon d’Or three-man shortlist along with goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Nadine Kessler (Germany), Marta (Brazil) and Abby Wambach (USA) were shortlisted for the women’s award.
Germany coach Joachim Loew, Real Madrid’s Carlo Ancelotti and Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone have been nominated for the Coach of the Year award.
Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has made the Ballon d’Or shortlist and is the overwhelming favourite to win the award third time in his career. The Portuguese won it last year as well, beating current nominee Lionel Messi to claim it. Ronaldo helped Real Madrid achieve a successful season by lifting the Copa Del Rey and the UEFA Champions League. Ronaldo also broke two important Champions League records by scoring the highest number of goals in the group stage in a season with 9 and the highest number of goals in a single Champions League season with 17. The forward also shared the European Golden Shoe with Luis Suarez for being the top-scorer in La Liga last season with 31 goals. Ronaldo had a poor World Cup but has been in top form after that as the 29-year old has scored 26 goals in 20 appearances for Real Madrid so far.
Meanwhile, Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, 27, who has won the award four times in a row previously, has also made it to the three-man shortlist of the Ballon d’Or. Lionel Messi last won the award in 2012 and came third last year behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Franck Ribery to put an end to his domination. The Argentina forward broke the goalscoring record for La Liga last month and also overtook Raul to become the top-scorer in the Champions League. Messi played an important role for his country in the World Cup and helped Argentina to the finals. Messi was awarded the Golden Ball, as the tournament’s best player, for his top-drawer performances in the World Cup.
Meanwhile, Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer, 28, is the first goalkeeper to make the final three since compatriot Oliver Kahn made the shortlist in 2002. Manuel Neuer had a fantastic season domestically as well as internationally. The German won the Bundesliga and German Cup as well as reaching the Champions League semi-finals with Bayern Munich. The biggest highlight of his career however came when he helped Germany lift the 2014 World Cup also winning the Golden Glove, awarded to the best goalkeeper of the tournament, in the process.