Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi is targeting an unprecedented fifth Ballon d’Or award in Zurich on Monday, with the Argentine heavily favoured to reclaim the prize from three-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo.
Brazil striker Neymar, who plays alongside Messi at Barca, is also in the running to be crowned world player of the year after he was included on the three-man shortlist for the first time.
Messi and Neymar, along with overlooked Uruguay star Luis Suarez, formed a formidable front three that propelled Barca to five trophies in 2015, including a second Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey treble in six seasons.
Messi, who won the award four times in a row from 2009-2012, scored 48 goals for Barca in 2015 as the Catalan giants reclaimed their status as the world’s top club side, easily overcoming South American champions River Plate in the Club World Cup in Japan last month.
USA World Cup-winning captain Carli Lloyd, Japan midfielder Aya Miyama and now-retired Germany striker Celia Sasic are in contention for the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year award.
Luis Enrique alongside Bayern Munich’s Pep Guardiola and Jorge Sampaoli — the mastermind behind Chile’s Copa America triumph will battle for Coach of the year award.
Meanwhile, Jill Ellis (USA/USA national team), Mark Sampson (Wales/English national team) and Norio Sasaki (Japan/Japanese national team) are the final trio to battle it out for the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football award.