Once again, it's that time of year when football fans argue who deserves to win the prestigious Ballon d'Or award – the greatest award an individual player can win in the sport. Like in the recent past, both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have already started as the favourites to win the award. But their duopoly could see an abrupt ending this January, as the Germany's World Cup winning goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has found himself as one of the three finalists.
Manuel Neuer became the first goalkeeper since 2002 to make the final short list for the FIFA world player of the year award on Monday when he was included alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the final three.
Germany have seen a dip in form since winning the World Cup in July and a 4-0 Euro 2016 qualifying win over Gibraltar on Friday was proof the players need to get their mind off the awards and start playing again, coach Joachim Loew said.
Cologne defender Jonas Hector earned a surprise call-up for World Cup winners Germany`s Euro 2016 qualifier against Gibraltar and their friendly game against Spain later this month on the back of solid performances with the promoted club.
World champions Germany will be desperate to bounce back with home win over Ireland next week to recover from a shock 2-0 defeat to Poland in their Euro 2016 qualifier on Saturday but in order to achieve that, they need to start scoring goals.