Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo & Antoine Griezmann in Ballon d’Or Final Three

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo & Antoine Griezmann in Ballon d’Or Final Three

It was no surprise to see Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo named in the final three players fighting for the FIFA’s Best Men’s Player Award.

The pair picked up where they left off in each of the past five years as they renew their battle to be crowned the best player in world football.

Two-horse race

Messi – the only player to have won the award five times – has beaten his rival in three of the past five years, including last year after an historic treble-winning season with Barcelona.

But if you fast-forward 12 months the race could be tighter than ever.

La Liga title success once again eluded Ronaldo and fell on to the lap of the little Argentine wizard.

However, a second Champions League crown in two years and Euro 2016 glory with Portugal could be enough to see Ronaldo edge it.

The outsider

Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann makes up the final three as a huge outsider despite a stunning couple of seasons at the Vicente Calderon and a Euros campaign which saw him finish as the tournament’s top scorer.

Back to its roots

After six years during which the Ballon d’Or was awarded in conjunction with FIFA, replacing the governing body’s World Player of the Year prize, the list will revert to its original roots this year.

No longer will a combined group of national team coaches, captains and international media take part in the decision, with only journalists now getting a vote.

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