Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo, Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer were named the three finalists for the FIFA Ballon d'Or award, given to the world’s best soccer player, FIFA announced Monday.
The list was cut to three from the 23 that were on the short list in October. The winner will be revealed Jan. 12.
German goalkeeper Neuer helped lead his country to the World Cup title this summer. He has only allowed 13 goals for Germany and Bayern Munich this year.
Messi, the Argentina national team captain, has 10 goals and seven assists this season for Barcelona in the Spanish Primera Division. Real Madrid’s Ronaldo leads La Liga with 20 goals in 12 games in 2014.
In 2010, the Ballon d'Or and the men's FIFA World Player of the Year were merged. Messi was named top player in the world in four straight years, from 2009-12, and Portugal native Ronaldo received the honor in 2008 and 2013.
- Scooby Axson