Cristiano Ronaldo Lionel Messi Real Madrid Barcelona
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi will look to add another FIFA Ballon d'Or to their CVReuters

Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi battle for the FIFA Ballon d'Or resumes yet again, with the two footballing superstars finding themselves in the three-man shortlist, and the man who will look to pip the two goalscoring machines to the title will be the goalkeeper who made the German defence look stronger and more impenetrable than the Great Wall of China – Manuel Neuer.

Real Madrid forward Ronaldo, the current holder of the world player of the year title, was always going to be in the final shortlist, even if he failed to quite find his "man how does he do that" mojo in the World Cup in Brazil.

Ronaldo, though, had a superlative club season last time out, leading Real Madrid to the Copa Del Rey title and, more importantly, the Champions League, to finally help Real Madrid to the La Decima.

Messi had a relatively sober season by his own unbelievably high standards, but the Argentine wonder did break a couple of big records recently, by becoming the all-time goalscorer in La Liga history and the Champions League.

The diminutive forward also led Argentina to the World Cup Final, where they lost to Germany, with the consolation of that loss being that he was awarded the Golden Ball for the best player of the tournament, albeit controversially.

The Barcelona man will now look to wrest back the FIFA Ballon d'Or that Ronaldo won last season when the winner will be announced on 12 January in Zurich.

Manuel Neuer will look to beat Ronaldo and Messi to the FIFA Ballon d'Or titleReuters

Neuer will look to become only the second goalkeeper to win the Ballon d'Or and the first since the FIFA World Player of the Year and the Ballon d'Or was united into one prize. The Bayern Munich goalkeeper will also try and better his compatriot Oliver Kahn, who was the last goalkeeper to be named in the shortlist in 2002, but failed to win the big prize.

The goalkeeper has been in ridiculously good for both club and country, leading Bayern Munich to the Bundesliga title, while helping Germany to the ultimate prize in football – the World Cup.

His sweeper duties have been well applauded and his ability to make that crucial save when required is second to none.

In a manner it will be nice to see someone not names Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi – the duo have won the last six Ballon d'Or's – win the prestigious award and Neuer, if he is given that honour, will certainly be worthy winner.

The shortlist for the women's Ballon d'Or was also named by FIFA, and they were quite familiar names in Nadine Kessler (Germany), Marta (Brazil) and Abby Wambach (USA).

The men's coach shortlist is a worthy three as well, with Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti set to battle it out with Germany's World Cup winner Joachim Low and the man who led Atletico Madrid to the La Liga title – Diego Simeone.

The women's coach of the year shortlist has been cut down to Ralf Kellermann (Germany/VfL Wolfsburg), Maren Meinert (Germany/Germany U-19 and U-20) and Norio Sasaki (Japan).