The award is given to the world’s best player over the calendar year, and each of the last seven prizes have been won by either Real Madrid’s Ronaldo or Barcelona’s Messi.
This year, they face competition from Messi’s team-mate Neymar, who is the joint-top scorer in La Liga so far this season with 15 goals in 16 appearances.
The three-man shortlist was picked from 23 nominees, and the winner will be announced at FIFA’s Ballon d’Or Gala in Zurich later today.
The three contenders
Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Messi has already claimed the award four times, and he is the overwhelming favourite to win a record fifth, having missed out to Cristiano Ronaldo for the last two years. The Argentine led Barcelona to a La Liga, Champions League and Copa del Rey treble last season, scoring a remarkable 28 goals in the second half of the campaign. He was unable to inspire his country to Copa America success in Chile during the summer, but he looks back to his best since returning from injury this month.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
Ronaldo is aiming for his third consecutive Ballon d’Or after back-to-back successes in 2013 and 2014, although he has his work cut out after ending last season without any silverware. He scored 29 goals in the second half of 2014/15 and became Real Madrid’s all-time record goalscorer in October, but his performances this season have come under scrutiny.
Neymar scored 24 goals in the second half of Barcelona’s treble-winning 2014/15 season, and he became an even more prominent figure during Messi’s recent injury absence. The Brazilian is joint-top of the Spanish scoring charts with 15 La Liga goals this season, and we think he will be third favourite to win the award behind Ronaldo. However, some think he is well placed to beat Ronaldo.
Makamba Online will give an update on the outcome of the Ballon d’Or later tonight. Who do you think will win the prestigious football accolade? Tweet us @MakambaOnline
Author: Gesture Chidhanguro