For the second consecutive year, Bayern Munich send a player to the FIFA Ballon d'Or ceremony in hopes of seeing him lift the trophy. Last year, it was Franck Ribery in Switzerland. This time, Manuel Neuer represents FC Bayern and the Bundesliga.
Neuer is trying to become the first goalkeeper ever and the first Bayern player since Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in 1981 to lift the historic award. It was always going to be an uphill battle for him due to his position, but if any goalkeeper is ever going to win this award, Neuer is the man to do it.
Manuel Neuer: The year was incredibly special for Neuer. The goalkeeper won the World Cup with Germany, was awarded the Golden Glove, and named to the All-Star Team in Brazil. With Bayern, Neuer lifted the Bundesliga and DFB Pokal trophies, while making it to the semifinals of the Champions League. He was named to the UEFA Team of the Year and was named German Footballer of the Year for the second time in his career. Finally, Neuer was named L'Equipe's player of the year and was awarded the IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper for the second year in a row.
Cristiano Ronaldo: While Mr. Ronaldo may have been a complete no-show at the World Cup this summer, he did help Real Madrid finally win La Decima. They won the Champions League Final against Atletico Madrid to give the club their 10th UCL trophy. He was named UEFA's Best Player in Europe and was named to the Champions League team of the season.
Lionel Messi: While his year isn't as gaudy as the other two, Messi did something that many didn't think he would do: He carried Argentina to the World Cup Final. They settled for second place, but Messi did take home the Golden Ball Award. With Barcelona, Messi was unable to lift any trophies.. It was a rather disappointing season for the club.
In the meantime, all of us can hope that Stephanie Roche wins the Puskás Award.
6:30PM Local, 12:30 PM EST
Zürich Kongresshaus in Zürich, Switzerland
United States: Fox Sports 2 (English), Fox Sports Deportes (Spanish), Fox Soccer 2 Go, Fox Sports GO
Canada: Sportsnet World
United Kingdom: Sky Sports 5, Sky Go, British Europsport 1
Germany: SRF, EuroSport Deutschland
Puskás Award (Goal of the Year): James Rodriguez, Colombia (June 28 vs. Uruguay)
Fair Play Award: Volunteers from FIFA tournaments
Presidential Award: Japanese journalist Hiroshi Kagawa
Women's World Coach: Ralf Kellermann, VfL Wolfsburg
Men's World Coach: Joachim Löw, Germany
Women's Ballon d'Or: Nadine Kessler, VfL Wolfsburg/Germany
Men's Ballon d'Or: Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid/Portugal
FIFA/FIFPro World XI (4-3-3):
Philipp Lahm – Sergio Ramos – David Luiz – Thiago Silva
Ángel di María – Toni Kroos – Andrés Iniesta
Arjen Robben – Lionel Messi – Cristiano Ronaldo