Germany and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has joined Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo on the final three-man shortlist in pursuit of the Ballon d'Or award, BBC Sport reports.
Cristiano Ronaldo beat his arch rival, Messi, to the award last year, however the Argentine is being tipped to claim the title for the fifth time in his career having previously won in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Nadine Kessler, Marta and Abby Wambach have been nominated for the women's award, but all attention is turned towards what could be the closest Ballon d'Or to date.
Lionel Messi has broken two remarkable records in the previous couple of weeks. Firstly, he smashed the all-time La Liga goalscoring record against Sevilla with a hat-trick before he travelled to APOEL to take the match ball and also the title for the all-time Champions League top goalscorer ahead of Raul.
As for Ronaldo, his year hasn't been as appetising, but in terms of scoring goals, the Portuguese man hasn't been short on supply with an exemplary 26 goals in 20 games for Real Madrid this year, not to mention his vital five goals for Portugal in 2014.
Despite the high success levels of the two outfield players, you can't rule out a surprise victory for Manuel Neuer whose World Cup winners medal shall be taken into account as well as a successful period with Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.
But when it comes to experience, Lionel Messi is certainly no stranger to the Ballon d'Or award. The Argentine has been placed in either first or second for seven consecutive years, and you would expect that to increase after a dream year with club and country.
The winner of the award will be announced on January 12 2015 in Kongresshaus, Zurich, Switzerland.
Other awards presented at the event are FIFA Men’s Football Coach of the Year where Joachim Low, Carlo Ancelotti and Diego Simeone while the FIFA Puskas Award features goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Pajtim Kasami.
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