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Ballon d'Or 2015: Award Ceremony Date, TV Schedule, Live Stream, Finalists

A picture taken on December 15, 2015 shows three plaques reading, 'Cristiano Ronaldo', 'Lionel Messi' and 'Neymar' at the Mellerio jewellers in Paris.
Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi, Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar and Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo were shortlisted for the Ballon d'Or 2015, Fifa's annual football award given to the male player considered to have performed the best in the previous calendar year, and that will be awarded on January 11, 2016 during a gala event in Zurich.
 / AFP / FRANCK FIFE        (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images
Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2016

The glitziest night on the football calendar will take place in Zurich on Monday, with Barcelona duo Lionel Messi and Neymar vying for the main Ballon d'Or award alongside the current holder, Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

It’s an evening that honours individual feats of brilliance throughout the previous calendar year, with all of the aforementioned trio having enjoyed a remarkable 2015. Aside from the coveted men’s gong, there’s be an award for the best women’s player, the Coach of the Year and the Puskas Award for the finest goal of 2015.

Here’s a full look at the contenders in each section, the viewing details for the ceremony and a closer examination of the likely winners for the two main awards.

Ballon d'Or 2015: Nominees
Men's Player of the YearLionel MessiNeymarCristiano Ronaldo
Women's Player of the YearCarli LloydCelic SasicAya Miyama
Men's Coach of the YearLuis EnriquePep GuardiolaJorge Sampaoli
Women's Coach of the YearJill EllisMark SampsonNorio Sasaki
Puskas AwardAlessandro Florenzi vs. BarcelonaLionel Messi vs. Athletic ClubWendell Lira vs. Atletico Goianiense
FIFA.com

Date: Monday, Jan. 11

Time: 5:30 p.m. (GMT), 12:30 p.m. (ET)

Ceremony will be broadcast on Eurosport (UK) and can be streamed via the FIFA website.

 

Lionel Messi

FC Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi celebrates a goal during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona vs RC Deportivo La Coruna at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on December 12, 2015.  AFP PHOTO / PAU BARRENA / AFP / PAU BARRENA
PAU BARRENA/Getty Images

The overwhelming favourite to triumph in the main category is Messi, as he helped Barcelona win a staggering five trophies during the previous calendar year.

This current season has been a decent one for the Blaugrana star, but it has been blemished by an injury layoff. Indeed, it’s his exceptional form toward the back end of 2014-15 that will see him emerge victorious ahead of Neymar and Ronaldo, as he helped Barcelona to glory in La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.

As WhoScored.com noted recently, despite his two-month layoff, Messi is alongside Ronaldo as the most decisive player in the final third in 2015:

Messi has made these contributions at vital moments too. His winning goal against Atletico Madrid in a 1-0 triumph at the Vicente Calderon secured the title for Barcelona, while his stunning solo effort against Athletic Club in the final of the Copa del Rey helped the Blaugrana on their way to more silverware.

Here’s a reminder of that sensational effort, which has been nominated for the Puskas Award:

Additionally, Messi embarrassed Jerome Boateng during Barca’s semi-final triumph over Bayern Munich in the Champions League before running Juventus ragged in the final, which his team won 3-1 in Berlin.

2015 was a year to remember for Messi and Barcelona.
2015 was a year to remember for Messi and Barcelona.VI-Images/Getty Images

Neymar and Ronaldo have both enjoyed tremendous seasons, but in terms of his end product, general play and influence in big matches, Messi deserves to be this year’s winner. That’ll be the fifth time the Argentina skipper has been named as FIFA’s finest player, and if his recent form is any indicator, the 28-year-old could win this gong a few more times yet.

 

Carli Lloyd

VANCOUVER, BC - JULY 05:  Carli Lloyd #10 of the United States celebrates scoring the opening goal against Japan in the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 Final at BC Place Stadium on July 5, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

For Carli Lloyd, this ceremony is likely to be the crowning moment on a memorable year, as she inspired the United States women's national team to glory at the 2015 World Cup.

After falling short in the final in 2011, there were big question marks over whether or not the USWNT possessed the mental strength to make the final step on the biggest stage right up until the final. But inspired by their wonderful midfielder, the United States blew away reigning champions Japan in spectacular circumstances.

Indeed, the United States roared to a four-goal lead inside the opening 16 minutes, with Lloyd notching a memorable hat-trick. One of her goals was particularly special, as we can see here courtesy of Howler magazine:

Throughout that tournament Lloyd was an immense presence in the United States’ team, surging forward with the ball, playing precision passes and, as is evident by her magnificent hat-trick in the biggest game of her career, stepping up when it really mattered.

Lloyd was central to the USWNT's success in 2015.
Lloyd was central to the USWNT's success in 2015.Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

In Aya Miyama and Celia Sasic, who also enjoyed tremendous World Cup campaigns, Lloyd does have some stern competition for this particular gong. But the American was the standout player in women’s football in 2015, and to produce what she did in the final takes remarkable talent and temperament.

Expect Lloyd to get the nod in this category, and with the Olympics to come later in the year, for her to have a major impact on the destination of another major title in the women’s game in 2016.

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