Fifa reveals 2015 awards nominees - will it be CR7, Messi or Neymar?
Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Brazilian forward Neymar da Silva are among the candidates.
JOHANNESBURG - The usual suspects will once again contest for the 2015 Fifa Men's World Player of the Year award at the 2016 Ballon d'Or ceremony.
The world football governing body announced the nominees for the various accolades today.
Portuguese superstar and the reigning world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo will look to defend his crown and hang on to the title for another year, equalling a record of four awards scooped by his arch-rival Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo's tally currently stands at three Ballon d'Ors, which he won in 2008, 2014 and 2015.
However, following a dismal performance in the 2015 season, that saw his club Real Madrid fail to defend their Uefa Champions League and Copa del Rey titles, it will prove to be difficult for the prolific forward to hang on to the trophy.
Messi and his Barcelona teammate Neymar da Silva are looking to snatch the award from Ronaldo, but it goes without saying that the record-breaking Argentine maestro stands a better chance of clinching the top prize ahead of his Brazilian companion.
Victory for Messi will move him to a record fifth title and many might say that he deserves the accolade, having guided Argentina to the Copa América final and playing, as always, an influential role in Barcelona treble success, picking up the Copa del Rey, La Liga and Champions League crowns in one season.
Neymar might just be in with a shout as he has been in the hottest form of his Barcelona career, scoring at a rate of more than a goal a game in Messi's absence.
However, the young Brazilian dribbling wizard stands very little chance against the two greatest players of this era.
There were some surprises in the nominees for Coach of the Year as Pep Guardiola got the nod ahead of Juventus' Massimo Allegri, who led the Italians giants to the Serie A title, the Coppa Italia title as well as the Champions League final against Barcelona.
Chile's Jorge Sampaoli and Luis Enrique are the other nominees, deservedly so, having guided their teams to major success in the year, while Guardiola faltered when it mattered most, only winning the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich.
Nominees in other categories
Women's World Player of the Year: Carli Lloyd, Aya Miyama & Celia Sasic
Puskás Award for Goal of the Year: Alessandro Florenzi, Wendell Lira & Lionel Messi
World Coach of the Year for Women's Football: Jill Ellis, Mark Sampson & Norio Sasaki