Ronaldo and Messi battle for award


Published: Monday 1st December 2014 by The News Editor

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Past winners Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are again the leading contenders for the FIFA Ballon d’Or as the world’s best player.

The pair, stars of Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively, have both been named on the three-man shortlist for the 2015 edition of the prestigious award along with Germany and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

Current holder Ronaldo and Messi have already won the award six times between them.

Portugal international Ronaldo, 29, scooped the prize for the second time last year and is again considered the favourite having scored 50 goals in 46 appearances for club and country in 2014.

He also helped Real win the Champions League, Copa del Rey and UEFA Super Cup.

Four-time winner Messi, 27, who recently broke the overall goalscoring record in La Liga, helped Argentina to the World Cup final and won the Golden Ball as player of the tournament in Brazil.

Neuer, 28, was one of the stars of Germany’s World Cup success, winning the Golden Glove as the tournament’s best keeper. He is long established as number one for club and country and added two further medals to his collection as Bayern won a domestic double last season.

The trio were nominated for the award after initially being named on a long list of 23 candidates.

Germany’s Joachim Low and Real’s Carlo Ancelotti were nominated for coach of the year along with Diego Simeone, who guided Atletico Madrid to La Liga success and the Champions League final.

Ronaldo, Messi and Neuer were also included among a list of contenders for places in the FIFPro World XI along with Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney and Real’s Welsh star Gareth Bale.

The controversy surrounding former Liverpool forward Luis Suarez at the World Cup – he was banned by world governing body FIFA after biting Giorgio Cheillini during Uruguay’s clash with Italy – did not prevent him being nominated.

A number of other Barclays Premier League players are also in contention with Thibaut Courtois, Branislav Ivanovic, Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta, Angel di Maria, Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard, Mesut Ozil, Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa also named.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Zurich on January 12.

Published: Monday 1st December 2014 by The News Editor

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