Manuel Neuer has reached the final-three shortlist for the FIFA Ballon d'Or, the footballing organization released Monday. Neuer joins Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in this years class.
Neuer is the first Goalkeeper for FIFA to shortlist in the Ballon d'Or era. Oliver Kahn was the last goalkeeper to be shortlisted for the World Player of the Year, finishing second in 2002 to Brazilian Ronaldo.
The 28-year-old won three major trophies in 2014, the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal with Bayern and the FIFA World Cup with Germany. Only eight goals in 20 matches have rolled past his goal line this season, an astounding record that includes 14 clean sheets.
"I also have to notably thank my teams," said Neuer. "With Bayern and the German national team, we played a great year in 2014 and won titles."
Neuer came up short in the voting for UEFA Best Player in Europe, watching Cristiano Ronaldo hoist the trophy in August. Since then, Ronaldo has scored 25 goals in 20 matches for club and country, giving him 56 so far in 2014. Lionel Messi has scored 53 himself, and advanced to the World Cup final with his native Argentina.
Five other Bayern players were nominated for the FIFA Ballon d'Or back in October – Mario Götze, Philipp Lahm, Thomas Müller, Arjen Robben, and Bastian Schweinsteiger – but it was Neuer who ended up making the cut. Several players former Ballon d'Or nominees, including Kahn, Johan Cruyff, and Andriy Shevchenko, have already come out in support of Neuer's candidacy.
Neuer would be the first goalkeeper to win the Ballon d'Or, and the first German to win it since Lothar Matthäus won the first Ballon d'Or in 1991. The FIFA Ballon d'Or ceremony is on January 12, 2015 in Zurich, Switzerland.