Portuguese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo was named Monday, December 1, for the 2014 Golden Ball, the award from FIFA and France Football that distinguishes the best soccer player for the year. The other soccer players named were Lionel Messi (Argentina) and Manuel Neuer (Germany).
Cristiano Ronaldo, who plays for Real Madrid, was the winner of the Golden Ball in 2008 and 2013, and this year is disputing the trophy again with his archrival Lionel Messi, the Argentinian playing for FC Barcelona, who was awarded the trophy in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
The winner will be crowned on January 12, 2015.
Ronaldo is gunning to retain the trophy for the first time in his career with a third overall win, while Messi will be looking to become the first-ever player to win five Ballon d’Or trophies.
All club and international performances are counted through the calendar year of 2014. This means the World Cup is likely to be an important factor in the vote. A total of 184 national coaches and captains plus 173 members of the media named their top three last year, with this season’s vote taking on the same formula.