FIFA have announced the three finalists for the 2015 World Player of the Year.
FC Barcelona duo Lionel Messi and Neymar have been joined by Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, while players such as Thomas Muller, Luis Suarez and Robert Lewandowski were snubbed.
Messi seems the massive favourite for the 2015 award after scoring 48 goals for club and country and assisting a further 24 strikes since the turn of the year. The 28-year-old was instrumental in his club’s treble-winning campaign and is expected to claim his fifth Ballon d’Or title.
Current World Player of the Year Ronaldo has scored as many as the Argentine, but assisted only 14 goals and didn’t win any major silverware.
Neymar is the third nominee, edging his teammate Suarez out of the running for a spot on the podium. The 23-year-old has scored 45 goals in 2015 and assisted an additional 14 for club and country. Suarez has also had a brilliant year, scoring 40 goals and assisting a further 23 for his teammates, but he did not make the cut.
The award recognises the best footballers for their respective achievements in the calendar year. A 23-man shortlist list was drawn up by experts from FIFA’s Football Committee and France Football.
National team captains, coaches and football journalists (one from each of FIFA’s members associations) chose the top three in each category, with the first choice getting five points, the second accruing three points and the third option claiming one point.
The points for every candidate were then added up to identify the three finalists, and the winner will be revealed at the FIFA Ballon d’Or gala on 11 January 2016.
Credit: Soccer Laduma