FIFA has narrowed down the shortlist for its Ballon d'Or award to just three names.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are joined by Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer on the three man shortlist, which was cut down from 23 players. The FIFA Ballon d'Or is awarded to the 'best' player in world football every year.

Neuer, who won the World Cup with Germany this summer, is the outside bet to scoop the award when the winner is announced on January 12th. Cristiano Ronaldo is the favourite to win for the second consecutive year.

Last month, Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery – who lost out to Ronaldo in the race for last year's award – believes the prize is too political and that Neuer stands no chance:

"It will be the same this year. What can I say about it? Manuel Neuer or Arjen Robben should win it. You can't disagree with this. Manu has won it all, he is a great guy and he isn't arrogant. Arjen has played an incredible season in the Bundesliga and then a fantastic World Cup.

But I fear it will be about politics again. The Ballon d'Or is no longer for the best player. It's all about politics."

It's hard to make much of an argument against regular record-breakers Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, surely?