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Introducing 2015's Ballon d'Or ceremony

Later this afternoon, at 6.30 pm, will start the ceremony for the Ballon d'Or 2015. Here is everything about today's special moment for world football, and Barça.

Introducing 2015's Ballon d'Or ceremony
Introducing 2015's Ballon d'Or ceremony

Later this afternoon, at 6.30 pm, will start the ceremony for the Ballon d'Or 2015. Here is everything about today's special moment for world football, and Barça.

messi_cr_i_neymar

For a few years now - 5 precisely - FIFA retrieved the right to award the Ballon d'Or from French magazine France Football, provoking every time much gossip and anticipation as for who is going to be the winner. Being one of the most prestigious individual rewards in modern football, it is also a wonderful occasion to see football protagonists blush, stutter and wear absolutely horrendous outfits (sorry Leo). But it is still the first big highlight of the year and a highly commented event on the Internet.

This year is no exception and although there is a clear favourite - Messi - to clinch his fifth Ballon d'Or after 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, the effervescence is there in Zurich, where the ceremony takes place. The other two finalists the Argentine's eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo and his Brazilian dream teamate Neymar, his first appearance in the finalists list.

Outside the main event that is also the big finale of the day, there will also be awards for the best goal (Puskas Award), the best female player of the year, the best manager of the year (both for men and women teams), the best XI of the year, a fair-play award and a presidential award.

Main event : 2015 FIFA Ballon d'Or

To many, there is no doubt about this year's outcome, given the domination of Barça on European - and World - football: the award should be given to Leo Messi. The Argentine star made it all happened this year alongside his two deadly teamates, Luis Suárez and Neymar. Some even think the three finalists should have been Barça's faboulous trident. However, Cristiano Ronaldo intends to grab a 4th victory in the ceremony, after those of 2008, 2013 and 2014 (last year). As for Neymar, it is his first ever nomination as a finalist, a rightful one given the year he had, and the magic he showed during Messi's absence. Here are a few figures to help evaluate the three players' performances in 2015.

Leo Messi in 2015:

Games: 61 (53 with Barça, 8 with Argentina)

Trophies: 5 (Liga 2014/15, Champion's League 2014/15, FIFA Clubs' World Cup 2015, Copa del Rey 2014/15, UEFA Supercup 2015)

Goals: 52 (48 with Barça, 4 with Argentina)

Assists: 26

Cristiano Ronaldo in 2015:

Games: 57 (52 with Real Madrid, 5 with Portugal)

Trophies: 0

Goals: 57 (54 with Real Madrid, 3 with Portugal)

Assists: 17

Neymar in 2015:

Games: 62 (53 with Barça, 9 with Brazil)

Trophies: 5 (Liga 2014/15, Champion's League 2014/15, FIFA Clubs' World Cup 2015, Copa del Rey 2014/15, UEFA Supercup 2015)

Goals: 45 (41 with Barça, 4 with Brazil)

Assists: 17

If we only refer to statistics, the final podium should be: 1) Messi 2) Cristiano Ronaldo 3) Neymar

Although it seems like a legitimate final ranking for 2015, the absence of trophy for Cristiano Ronaldo appear to be a real drawback. It will be up to the 165 voters (coaches and journalists) to have the final say in this. After all, there have been surprises before...

For the pleasure of the eyes : 2015 Puskás Award

It is undoubtedly the most glamourous award of the whole ceremony. The Puskás Award rewards the goal of 2015 voted as most beautiful. Images speak louder than a thousand words, so here are the finalists in video.

Alessandro Florenzi (AS Roma) - Champion's League Group Stage, Roma - Barça

Wendell Lira (Brazilian Goiano) - Brazilian League, Atletico-Go - Goianesia

Leo Messi (Barça) - Copa del Rey final, Barça - Athletic Bilbao

2014 winner: James Rodriguez (Colombia, 2014 FIFA World Cup)

The very best of World football: FIFA XI of the year 2015

What would a team look like with all the best players from the year? A fantasy only possible in manager games, or in FIFA Ballon d'Or ceremony. Here is the list of the 55 finalists:

Goalkeepers (5): Gianluigi Buffon (Italy/Juventus), Iker Casillas (Spain/FC Porto), David De Gea (Spain/Manchester United), Keylor Navas (Costa Rica/Real Madrid) and Manuel Neuer (Germany/FC Bayern Munich). 

Defenders (20): David Alaba (Austria/FC Bayern Munich), Jordi Alba (Spain/FC Barcelona), Jérôme Boateng (Germany/FC Bayern Munich), Daniel Carvajal (Spain/Real Madrid), Giorgio Chiellini (Italy/Juventus), Dani Alves (Brazil/FC Barcelona), David Luiz (Brazil/Paris Saint-Germain), Diego Godín (Uruguay/Atletico Madrid), Mats Hummels (Germany/Borussia Dortmund), Branislav Ivanović (Serbia/Chelsea), Vincent Kompany (Belgium/Manchester City), Philipp Lahm (Germany/FC Bayern Munich), Marcelo (Brazil/Real Madrid), Javier Mascherano (Argentina/FC Barcelona), Pepe (Portugal/Real Madrid), Gerard Piqué (Spain/FC Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Spain/Real Madrid), John Terry (England/Chelsea), Thiago Silva (Brazil/Paris Saint-Germain) and Raphaël Varane (France/Real Madrid). 

Midfielders (15): Thiago Alcântara (Spain/FC Bayern Munich), Xabi Alonso (Spain/FC Bayern Munich), Sergio Busquets (Spain/FC Barcelona), Eden Hazard (Belgium/Chelsea), Andrés Iniesta (Spain/FC Barcelona), Toni Kroos (Germany/Real Madrid), Luka Modrić (Croatia/Real Madrid), Andrea Pirlo (Italy/New York City FC), Paul Pogba (France/Juventus), Ivan Rakitić (Croatia/FC Barcelona), James Rodríguez (Colombia/Real Madrid), David Silva (Spain/Manchester City), Yaya Touré (Ivory Coast/Manchester City), Marco Verratti (Italy/Paris Saint-Germain) and Arturo Vidal (Chile/FC Bayern Munich). 

Strikers (15): Sergio Agüero (Argentina/Manchester City), Gareth Bale (Wales/Real Madrid), Karim Benzema (France/Real Madrid), Douglas Costa (Brazil/FC Bayern Munich), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Real Madrid), Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden/Paris Saint-Germain), Robert Lewandowski (Poland/FC Bayern Munich), Lionel Messi (Argentina/FC Barcelona), Thomas Müller (Germany/FC Bayern Munich), Neymar (Brazil/FC Barcelona), Arjen Robben (Netherlands/FC Bayern Munich), Wayne Rooney (England/Manchester United), Alexis Sánchez (Chile/Arsenal), Luis Suárez (Uruguay/FC Barcelona) and Carlos Tevez (Argentina/Boca Juniors)

2014 XI of the year: Neuer - Ramos, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Lahm - Iniesta, Kroos, Di María - Robben, Messi, Ronaldo.

The men (and women) behind the teams: 2015 Women's World Coach and 2015 Men's World Coach

Eleven players are not enough to win trophies. There must be a wizard getting them all together towards their goal. Here are the finalists for Men's World Coach and Women's World Coach of the year:

Men's World Coach of the year

Pep Guardiola (Bayern Munich)

Luis Enrique (Barça)

Jorge Sampaoli (Chile)

Women's World Coach of the year

Jill Ellis (United States)

Mark Sampson (Wales)

Norio Sasaki (Japan)

Girl power: The Women's World Player of the year award

2015 has been a very important year for Women's football, with the 2015 World Cup the United States won for the third time, in Canada. With Women's football developping very well in the past few years, it is only fair to have an award given to the best female player of the year. Here are the nominees: 

Carli Lloyd (USA)

Aya Miyama (Japan)

Celia Sasic (Germany)

2014 Women's World Player of the year: Nadine Kessler (Germany)