What to watch for during Monday’s Ballon d’Or ceremony (besides whether Manuel Neuer makes history)


A star-studded early afternoon event will likely show us a dolled-up Cristiano Ronaldo picking up more hardware, but that won’t stop us from watching the Ballon d’Or awards ceremony.

Ronaldo is the favorite to pick up his third Ballon d’Or when all is said and done on Monday, with the bulk of the action happening after 1230pm ET.

[ RELATED: Watch this remarkable batch of Ronaldo illustrations ]

Manuel Neuer is hoping to spring an upset and become the first keeper to claim the honors since Lev Yashin in 1963, while Lionel Messi looks for award No. 5 and hoping his records broken trump Ronaldo’s absurd production.

Men’s award

Neuer has been phenomenal between the sticks as the modern sweeper-keeper — and Messi’s performed well, too — but it’s very hard to argue that Ronaldo won’t win the award after a stunning year that saw him lead Real Madrid to the UEFA Champions League final. Messi did have a better World Cup, and Neuer won the thing, but Ronaldo’s the favorite here. It’s one of the only times a Messi victory would be an upset.

Women’s award

On the women’s side, Abby Wambach finds herself the underdog against Germany’s Nadine Kessler and Brazil’s Marta. Wambach won the award in 2012 and Marta took home the honors from 2005-2010. Kessler is up for the award for the first time, but led Wolfsburg to the Bundesliga title and UEFA Champions League honors.

Men’s Coach of the Year

The coach of the year award will go to either Carlo Ancelotti, Joachim Low or Diego Simeone. Each would be a first time winner, with Low leading Germany to its emphatic World Cup win and Ancelotti edging Simeone in the UEFA Champions League only for the it to go the other way in La Liga.

Goal of the Year

The Puskas Award for goal of the year finds Ireland’s Stephanie Roche going against memorable World Cup goals from Robin van Persie and James Rodriguez.