Fifa Ballon d'Or candidates: What are their chances of winning?

SINGAPORE - The list of candidates for the Fifa Ballon d'Or award is out, and none of the three names are a big surprise to football fans.

Which means to say that Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar are all fully deserving of being named the top player of the past year.

Still, there can only be a winner in the Jan 11 award ceremony. So how good are each of their chances of winning football's top individual prize?

NEYMAR

Forward, 23, Brazil/Barcelona


Neymar celebrates after scoring the 1-0 lead during the match between FC Barcelona and Real Sociedad de Futbol on Nov 28. 2015. PHOTO: EPA

Why he should win: He is the top scorer in La Liga this term with 12 goals in 11 appearances, with two more in five Champions League outings, and was particularly impressive during Messi's recent two-month injury absence. The pair, together with Luis Suarez, set a Spanish record of 122 goals in all competitions in the 2014-15 season, as Barca romped to a treble of Champions League, La Liga and King's Cup titles.

Why he should not win: This is the first time the Brazilian has appeared in the final shortlist of three candidates. Messi and Ronaldo have dominated the award since 2008, and it does not seem likely that Neymar can break this domination yet. This, however, may change in the next few years.

LIONEL MESSI

Forward, 28, Argentina/Barcelona


Lionel Messi gestures during the match between FC Barcelona and Real Sociedad de Futbol on Nov 28. 2015. PHOTO: AFP

Why he should win: The diminutive Argentinian wizard is still scoring goals and accumulating trophies for fun. Yet, it is to his enormous credit that his team-mates like Luis Suarez and Neymar are thriving in a way that Gareth Bale or Karim Benzema may never be able to alongside Ronaldo at Real Madrid.

Why he should not win: He had a spell out of with injury, and as a result, has not been effective as he used to be.

CRISTIANO RONALDO

Forward, 30, Portugal/Real Madrid


Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after scoring a goal during the match between Shakhtar Donetsk and Real Madrid on Nov 25, 2015. PHOTO: EPA

Why he should win: Has proven to be an unstoppable scoring machine year in and year out. He scored 48 goals in La Liga and added seven more in the Champions League, shouldering Real Madrid's hopes of worldwide domination. It is no easy job, but Ronaldo does it with a wink and a grin.

Why he should not win: With Real not winning any trophy this past year, the Portuguese's star is somewhat dimmed, when compared to the exploits of his rivals Messi and Neymar.