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FIFA Gala in Zurich

Ballon d’Or: Third place for Neuer

Manuel Neuer has finished narrowly behind Barça star Lionel Messi in the race for second place in the FIFA Ballon d’Or 2014. The trophy went to pre-event favourite Cristiano Ronaldo, who retains the World Player of the Year award he won for the second time last year. The most prestigious individual accolade in the global game was presented at the FIFA Ballon D'Or Gala at Zurich Kongresshaus on Monday evening.

"I’m leaving here with a grin on my face. It’s a fantastic day for me," commented Neuer. “The whole of the year 2014 was an unbelievable experience for me as we celebrated so many successes. I’ll always remember it.”

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge attended the ceremony in Zurich in person and spoke to "It’s fantastic that, after Franck Ribéry last year, a Bayern Munich player has been named one of the three best footballers in the world for the second year running. We’re unbelievably proud of Manuel Neuer."

Manuel, Philipp and Arjen in World XI

Following Neuer’s recent victory in the poll for the world’s best goalkeeper, Monday’s accolade was "further confirmation of his exceptional performances," Rummenigge continued. “He had a superb 2014 including an unbelievable World Cup, setting new benchmarks for the goalkeeping position. He would have utterly deserved to win this vote for the world’s best player."

Neuer was also named in the FIFA/FIFPro World XI 2014, where he was joined by Philipp Lahm and Arjen Robben. Among the other awards, Germany coach Joachim Löw succeeded Jupp Heynckes as men’s head coach of the year. Heynckes won the award in 2013 after guiding Bayern to their historic treble triumph.

The FIFA/FIFPro World XI 2014:
Manuel Neuer - Philipp Lahm, David Luiz, Thiago Silva, Sergio Ramos - Angel die Maria, Toni Kroos, Andres Iniesta - Arjen Robben, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo