Earlier on, 23 players were nominated for the prestigious global award but the list has since reduced to the Barcelona duo of Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr., and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
Many football fans, including pundits, had expected the MSN trio of Messi, Suarez and Neymar to make it to the list of the last three nominees this season but Suarez is conspicuously missing. Ronaldo makes a return to the list after winning the coveted title three times but is highly unlikely to win it for the fourth time since he has not been in great form for Los Blancos this season compared to the previous seasons.
Messi is expected to clinch the top prize despite missing crucial games for the Catalans after picking up an injury against Las Palmas back in October. Neymar could come second followed by Ronaldo. Apart from Messi and Ronaldo, Neymar has made his first ever appearance in the final three, and is expected to dominate the awards in the coming seasons if his recent performance is anything to go by.
Apart from the Ballon d’Or, FIFA also announced the nominees for other categories namely:
Female footballer of the year
- Carli Lloyd (USA/Houston Dash),
- Aya Miyama (Japan/Okayama Yunogo Belle)
- Célia Šašić (Germany/1. FFC Frankfurt)
World coach of the Year
- Jorge Sampaoli (Argentina/Chulean national team)
- Pep Guardiola (Bayern Munich)
- Luis Enrique Martinez (FC Barcelona)
Most beautiful goal of the year
- Alessandro Florenzi (AS Roma vs Barcelona, UEFA Champions League)
- Wendell Lira vs Atletico (Goianesia, Campeonator Goiano)
- Lionel Messi vs Althletic Bilbao (FC Barcelona, Copa del Rey)
FIFA world coach of the year for women’s football
- Jill Ellis (USA/USA national team)
- Mark Sampson (Wales/English national team)
- Norio Sasaki (Japan/Japanese national team)
The winners will be announced on 11 January 2016 in Zurich.
Meanwhile, here are some reactions on Twitter after Neymar was announced to be part of the last three finalists
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