FIFA's best: What the top 3 achieved last year

Cristiano Ronaldo won the award last year and ever since collecting his prize, the Portuguese talisman has had another successful season. He will be joined at the podium by his arch-rival of the last decade Lionel Messi, and the world's most expensive player Neymar.

Three contenders but there can be only one winner...   -  Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo will hope to defend his FIFA Best Men's Player award on Monday as he lines up alongside his arch-rival of the last decade Lionel Messi, and the world's most expensive player Neymar.

Ronaldo scored 44 goals this calendar year in 48 appearances, including 11 for Portugal. The Portuguese helped Real Madrid to the Champions League and the La Liga double in the 2016/17 campaign and was also instrumental in Portugal's triumph at the EURO.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi, meanwhile, finds his spot in the shortlist with 49 goals and 11 assists in 50 appearances.

Neymar, who made the switch from Barcelona to PSG in the summer, completes the lineup.

Mbappe crowned Golden Boy

The voting process was split evenly between four evenly-weighted categories: national coaches, national captains, select members of the media and fans and the winner will be announced on Monday in London. The performance of the three contenders between November 20, 2016 and July 2, 2017 will be taken into account.

On paper, the Portuguese talisman looks like the early favourite. Ronaldo was instrumental in Real's double-winning campaign as he finished top-scorer in last year's Champions League for the fifth straight season. He scored crucial goals in the tournament, including five against Bayern Munich in the quarterfinal, three against Atletico Madrid in the semifinal and a brace against Juventus in the final.

 

While Lionel Messi might not have the trophy haul from last season to match Cristiano Ronaldo -- his Barcelona side only managed the Copa del Rey -- La Pulga has been performing at his sublime best. Despite Barcelona finishing second in La Liga, Messi comfortably topped the scoring charts with 37 strikes against opponents which earned him his fourth Pichichi Trophy, awarded to the leading goalscorer in the Spanish top flight.

Eventful year

You must be a special talent if you can upstage Ronaldo and Messi to make it to the back pages of every newspaper on the planet. And Neymar did just that. But then again, he is no ordinary athlete.

The Brazilian was one third of the famous MSN triumvirate, alongside Luis Suarez and Messi, at Barcelona but he took the brave decision to leave playing alongside possibly the game's greatest for a new challenge.

Tabloid rumours suggested Neymar made the record-breaking 222 million Euros move to PSG to "get out of Messi's shadow". While the Brazilian was forced to refute that for a considerable amount of time after his move to Paris, Neymar is definitely the talisman at his new club. The Brazilian is definitely calling the shots at Parc de Princes, just ask Cavani. 

While there are three contenders for the prestigious award, there can only be one winner.

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