The FIFA Ballon d’Or nominees were announced yesterday. Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo and Manuel Neuer are the finalists for the award that will be announced Jan. 12 in an award show in Zurich, Switzerland.
The FIFA Ballon d’Or goes to the best soccer player in the world based on performance throughout the whole year. Before 2010 the award was called FIFA World Player of The Year, but in 2010 the Ballon d’Or was introduced.
Messi (Argentina/ FC Barcelona) already owns four player-of-the-year awards as he took four straight from 2009 to 2012. He became the first winner of the new Ballon d’Or in 2010 and won the first three. In 2013 he came in second behind Ronaldo. Messi also came in second in 2007 and 2008. This year, the Argentine has scored 17 goals for his Spanish club, and also took Argentina to the World Cup final in Brazil. He scored four goals in the World Cup and was named the tournament’s best player.
Ronaldo (Portugal/Real Madrid) once again gets nominated after winning the award in 2013. This year, Ronaldo has scored 20 goals for his club and has them atop the La Liga standings in front of Messi’s Barcelona by two points. His Portugal national team was eliminated in the group stage of the World Cup, and he scored one goal in three contests.
Neuer (Germany/ FC Bayern Munich) would become only the second goalkeeper in history to be named best player. The only other goalie to win the award was Lev Yashin in 1963. Neuer led his German national team to their fourth World Cup trophy in Brazil this summer. He earned the Adidas Golden Glove, which goes to the most outstanding goalkeeper of the tournament. He had 24 total saves and had four games without allowing a goal. This year with his club, he has 28 saves and hasn’t allowed a goal in 10 of his team’s 13 matches.