Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Neymar have been shortlisted for the Ballon d’Or for 2015, which is given to the world footballer of the year.
There was little doubt that these will be the three men standing on the podium in Zurich, but who would be standing the tallest is still anyone’s guess.
This is the eighth successive year that Ronaldo and Messi have been shortlisted for the Ballon d’or, and the previous seven awards have been shared between the two great rivals. Ronaldo won the award in 2014 and 2015, halting Messi’s record-breaking run of winning the Ballon d’or four years in a row.
It is the first time Brazil’s Neymar is among the three contenders, but there was no surprise that he made it to the top three, after guiding Barcelona to the treble, along with Lionel Messi.
The three players were chosen from a 23-man list that included Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale.
Ronaldo, Messi and Neymar have been named among the 50 players to make the team of the year shortlist, and 28-year-old Messi is also nominated in the Puskas Award for the year’s best goal, as reported by the BBC.
Ronaldo, Messi on 48 goals each
Messi and Ronaldo have both scored 48 goals in 2015, but Messi has missed out on a hefty amount of game time this season, as the Argentine has been injured for two months.
Meanwhile, Mark Sampson is in contention for Fifa’s women’s football world coach of the year after guiding England to third place at this year’s World Cup.
The Ballon d’or ceremony will take place in Zurich on January 11.