The final three-man shortlist for the 2015 FIFA Ballon d’Or will be revealed on Monday afternoon. Twenty-three players were nominated for the prestigious award by world football’s governing body and France Football magazine in October.
Only one Briton, Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale, and five Premier League-based players – Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, Yaya Toure, Alexis Sanchez and Eden Hazard – were on that list.
However, they will now be reduced to just three names, with the announcement made in a show broadcast on FIFA.com, http://www.francefootball.fr and FIFA’s YouTube channel at 1pm on Monday.
Sky Sports News HQ’s Kate Abdo will make the announcement, when the nominees for several other individual awards will be revealed, including Women’s World Player of the Year, World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football and the Puskas Award for the best goal of the year.
Meanwhile, a three-man shortlist for the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football will also be named on Monday.
The winners of those prizes, as well as the Ballon d’Or itself, will be revealed in a ceremony in Zurich on January 11 2016, and here are Sky Bet’s main contenders for this year’s award:
Messi has already won the award four times and if Sky Bet are right then an unprecedented fifth is coming his way. The Argentine led Barcelona to a La Liga, Champions League and Copa del Rey treble, scoring a remarkable 28 goals in the second half of the league season.
However, Messi made less of an impression in the latter stages of Barca’s European triumph, scoring just twice since the turn of the year, while he netted just once as Argentina lost in the Copa America final to Chile.
Ronaldo is looking to complete a hat-trick of Ballon d’Or awards after edging Messi in 2013 and 2014, but is up against the odds after ending the 2014/15 season empty handed.
The Portuguese star has, however, been the leading scorer in European Cup competitions in 2015, finding the net in both legs of Madrid’s Champions League semi-final defeat to Juventus.