Ballon d'Or LIVE Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer battle it out to be crowned world's best footballer in Zurich

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Cristiano Ronaldo, Manuel Neuer and Lionel Messi go head-to-head for FIFA Ballon d'Or 2014 at Kongresshaus in Zurich, Real Madrid and Portugal star Ronaldo won the award last year .

Portuguese superstar is odds-on favourite to win the Ballon d'Or again. Ronaldo in press conference: 'I'd love to play with Neuer and Messi. Barcelona star Lionel Messi helped Argentina to the World Cup final
Messi in press conference: 'I don't know where I'll be next year'.

Manuel Neuer won the World Cup with Germany after fine performance.Stephanie Roche up against James Rodriguez and RVP for Puskas Award. Manuel Neuer and Arjen Robben jet in to Ballon d'Or ceremony in Zurich
READ: Why Ronaldo should win - Why Messi should - Why Neuer should.


The Ronaldo clan have all arrived, hoping their favourite family member picks up the prize

Last year Ronaldo shed tears after winning his second Ballon d'Or - and he is favourite to make it two in a row and three overall tonight.

Ronaldo's family, including his son Cristiano Jr, are with him on the red carpet, waiting in anticipation.

No player outside of Messi and Ronaldo has picked up the Ballon d'Or since 2007 - I wouldn't bet on Manuel Neuer claiming the award then...


Ronaldo is the favourite to pick up the top prize tonight - and he has now returned to the ceremony clad in his finest suit.

The Real Madrid forward has enjoyed a phenomenal last 24 months and capped off last season by lifting the UEFA Champions League.

Would you really bet against him claiming the victory tonight?

The great and good of the world of football arrive in Zurich... as does Sepp Blatter

The famous faces are flooding into the awards ceremony in Zurich as they walk along the red carpet.

Thierry Henry, Toni Kroos, as well as Sergio Ramos and his glamorous girlfriend are among the stars arriving on the red carpet.

Unfortunately FIFA president Sepp Blatter has just got there too - I suppose he does need to be there after all...


Messi casts doubt over Barca future...

As Cristiano Ronaldo arrives at the ceremony to a host of screaming fans, his rival for the award Lionel Messi has cast doubt over his Barca future.

The Argentine admitted: 'I don't know where I'll be next year.'

Stephanie Roche is hoping to leave Zurich with an award

Stephanie Roche has arrived ahead of the ceremony and she is looking in high spirits.

The Peamount United forward's audacious and brilliant goal is up for the Puskas Award for the best strike of the year.

She was kissed by her boyfriend, Bray Wanderers' Dean Zambra, as she entered the awards.

Wayne Rooney has made it clear who he wants to win tonight - loyal to the end

Maybe unsurprisingly Rooney has plumped for his former Manchester United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo to win tonight's Ballon d'Or.

The England captain has also chosen Red Devils team-mate Robin van Persie to pick up the Puskas award for the best goal.

Fans can certainly get close to the players at the ceremony...

Whoever said football wasn't a game for the people?

As this photo below shows, fans who are waiting outside the ceremony in Zurich can barely get within six feet of their heroes.

Security is one thing, but this seems a little bit absurd.

Someone has a pretty cushy day job

A steward has brought forward the FIFA Ballon d'Or award and has placed it on the plinth, ready for it to be awarded later.

Not a bad day job really, when you think about it.

You certainly don't want someone with butter fingers though - that would only end in disaster...

They're all friends right now - well, sort of...

Neuer, Messi and Ronaldo have been pictured together - arm in arm embrace.

They certainly look happy to be next to one another, don't they...

It's 2-1 to Adidas in the advertising stakes too, with both Neuer and Messi being on the books of the German giants, while Ronaldo is with Nike

Messi on Ronaldo: 'He had an extraordinary year'

A question from a Portuguese journalist comes in, asking Neuer and Messi what they think of Ronaldo's year:

Messi
What Cristiano did this season was really impressive, winning the Champions Cup and scoring so many goals. He had an extraordinary year.

Neuer
I can only confirm what has said, he has played a spectacular year. He was the key player for the victory of Real Madrid. He decided the match himself basically. Beyond scoring many goals, he contirbuted many asissts. He is a world class football player, and we all know it.

Come on lads, name some names!

The three Ballon d'Or candidates are asked which players from the past they would most like to play alongside. These are their - very diplomatic - answers:

Messi
There are so many great players from the past, so to mention a name is very difficult. I would loved to have played with many players from the past.

Neuer
I like playing with successful teams and of course you have your idols from the past. It would have of course be wonderful to be able to play with those players from the past but it would be wrong to single out one players.

Ronaldo
It would be nice to have the three of us together on the same team - that would be a good thing. I think I would like to have the two on stage now in my team.

Ballon d'Or nominees give their opinion on the World Cup in Brazil

Ronaldo
I think it was a very good World Cup. Very well organised, things ran smoothly. The best team won - the Germans. They were very good, as were Argentina. On the whole, it was good, not for Portugal, we were kicked out in the first phase, but the main thing was everything ran smoothly.

Messi
It was good football, some good squads and the organisation was very good. We travelled a lot and we didn't run into any sort of problem. It was positive, above and beyond the final result.

Neuer
I guess football has moved forward and small teams, allegedly small teams, are becoming better. It's becoming more difficult to win. It was really a lot of fun playing there and to win the title at the end was beautiful.
source: dailymail.co.uk

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