Ronaldo and Messi go head-to-head again for 2014 Ballon d’Or

World Cup-winning goalkeeper Neuer joins star-studded duo on final shortlist
Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi, left, and Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo. Lluis Gene & Quique Garcia / AFP
Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi, left, and Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo. Lluis Gene & Quique Garcia / AFP

Cristiano Ronaldo will be challenging Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer to retain the Ballon d’Or after the final three candidates for the award were announced on Monday.

Ronaldo won the 2013 honour to end Messi’s three-year run as the world’s best player since Fifa and France Football merged their awards.

While Messi has broken the Uefa Champions League and Spanish Primera Liga scoring records this month after winning the Golden Ball at the World Cup, the Argentina forward will end 2014 without a team honour.

Argentina lost to Germany in the Fifa World Cup final. Neuer kept a clean sheet as the Bayern Munich keeper followed up winning the German Bundesliga and cup by lifting football’s biggest prize.

Ronaldo’s World Cup campaign with Portugal ended in the group stage, but he won the Champions League and Uefa Super Cup with Real Madrid.

Messi made the shortlist for the eighth time, while Ronaldo made the final three for the fourth consecutive year.

Germany coach Joachim Loew, Real Madrid’s Carlo Ancelotti and Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone were selected for the Coach of the Year award. The final ceremony will take place in Zurich on January 12.

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Published: December 1, 2014 04:00 AM

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