Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Manuel Neuer were shortlisted for the prestigious prize on Monday, but which one should take home the coveted Golden Ball in January?
Who should win the Fifa Ballon d’Or? Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo, Barcelona attacker Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer are the three men shortlisted for football’s foremost individual honour in 2013 after Monday’s announcement. But there can be only one winner.
Cristiano claimed the prestigious prize in 2013 and is the favourite to win a third trophy for his museum in Madeira after leading Madrid to the Champions League back in May and scoring a competition record 17 goals en route to La Decima. The Portuguese, who endured a disappointing World Cup with Portugal, also won the Copa del Rey (despite missing the final) and has made a stunning start to the current campaign at Real.
Messi, meanwhile, has failed to claim any silverware in 2014, but did play a pivotal part for Argentina as theAlbiceleste fell at the final hurdle to Germany in the World Cup. The 27-year-old scored four times at Brazil 2014 and was named the tournament’s best player. He has also just broken respective records for all-time goals in both La Liga and the Champions League, although voting for the Ballon d’Or had already closed by then.
Neuer went one better than Messi and won the World Cup with Germany, cementing his reputation as not only the world’s best goalkeeper, but also a ‘sweeper-keeper’ who is comfortable clearing up behind a high defensive line for club and country. In addition, the Bayern Munich man was key as the Bavarians claimed four titles under Pep Guardiola at the Allianz Arena in 2013-14 (including the Bundesliga, the Uefa Super Cup and the Club World Cup).
So which one should win the Fifa Ballon d’Or? Vote in our poll below and leave your opinions in the comments section …