Ballon d’Or 2015: Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Neymar?
Lionel Messi is the heavy favourite to win the 2015 Ballon d'Or ahead of Cristiano Ronald and Neymar
Lionel Messi is waiting to discover if he has done enough to pip Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar to the 2015 Ballon d’Or award.
The prize, which is voted for by international coaches, captains and members of the media, will be given out for the 60th time at a glitzy ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland on Monday evening.
Real Madrid star Ronaldo has won football’s most prestigious individual accolade for the last two years but Barcelona’s Messi is the heavy favourite to win the 2015 prize.
Messi, who has not won the Ballon d’Or since 2012, helped to inspire Barcelona to a La Liga, Champions League and Copa del Rey treble last season, scoring 48 goals in 56 games for club and country in 2015.
Ronaldo, on the other hand, has his work cut out to win the award this year after finishing last season without any silverware. Despite his lack of a trophy, Ronaldo still managed to score 48 goals in 52 games for club and country last year.
It is the first time that Neymar has been nominated for the prize, with the Brazilian impressing en route to helping the Catalan club win the treble. Neymar scored 45 goals in 59 games for club and country last year.
Ballon d’Or: Previous winners
2014: Cristiano Ronaldo
2013: Cristiano Ronaldo
2012: Lionel Messi
2011: Lionel Messi
2010: Lionel Messi
2009: Lionel Messi
2008: Cristiano Ronaldo
2006: Fabio Cannavaro
Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola (Bayern Munich), Luis Enrique (Barcelona) and Jorge Sampaoli (Chile) are the three final nominees for the Fifa world coach of the year award for 2015. Enrique is the front-runner to win the prize after guiding Barcelona to the treble.
What they say…
Guillem Balague: “I do feel Neymar is more influential these days. It was noted when Messi got injured for two months, but generally in the last 12 months you’ve got one of the few players in the world who can beat defenders, whose pace is electrifying, and who not only scores but assists as well. He’s got everything to be the second best player in the world.”
Oliver Kahn: “It’ll probably be another battle between Messi, who’s had a strong season, and Ronaldo, who has scored another hatful of goals. I think Ronaldo will win again, a man who calls himself the world’s best player – and who can blame him?”
Marc Wilmots: “It’s impossible to pick the best from three top players like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar. They’re simply playing on another level altogether. The best way to decide the winner of the Ballon d’Or would be to draw one name out of a hat – all three are exceptional.”
Carles Puyol: “It’s very difficult for there to be another player who can win five Ballons d’Or. And furthermore, it’s not as if Leo is going to retire tomorrow and if he wins on Monday, and carries on like this, he can win even more. Even five Ballons d’Or won’t really do justice to him.”
Stay close to The Sport Review for all of the latest news from the Ballon d’Or gala in Zurich on Monday 11 January. Winner to be announced at around 19:30 GMT.