Cristiano Ronaldo won the Ballon d'Or in 2013 and 2014 ©Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar are the three megastars of football in the running for this year's FIFA Ballon d'Or award.

The prestigious prize, handed out to the player considered to be the best in the world, was won by 30-year-old Portugal and Real Madrid winger Ronaldo in 2013 and 2014.

Before that, Argentina and Barcelona striker Messi scooped the prize three times in a row and the two rivals are regularly spoken about as two of the best players to have ever graced a football pitch.

Brazilian striker Neymar, a team-mate of Messi at Barcelona, is also in the running but it is hard to see him taking home the honour.

The trio are in the frame after an initial shortlist of 23 players was whittled down.

A voting process, open to the captains and head coaches of the national teams of the 207 FIFA Member associations, as well as international media representatives, led to 20 players falling out of contention.

American Carli Lloyd is one of three players in the frame for the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year award
American Carli Lloyd is one of three players in the frame for the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year award ©Getty Images

Meanwhile, United States and Houston Dash midfielder Carli Lloyd, Japan and Okayama Yunogo Belle midfielder Aya Miyama and Germany and FFC Frankfurt striker Célia Šašić are the three players put forward for the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year award, won last year by German's Nadine Keßler.

The coach of the year nominees are Bayern Munich's Pep Guardiola, Barcelona's Luis Enrique and Chile's Jorge Sampaoli on the men's side, with England's Mark Sampson, Japan's Norio Sasaki and the United States' Jill Ellis put forward in the women's category.

Three nominees have also been named for the FIFA Puskás Award, which recognises the most "beautiful" goal of the year.

Alessandro Florenzi's strike for Roma against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League and Wendell Lira's effort for Goianesia against Atletico-Go in Brazil's Campeonato Goiano are both in the running, as well as Messi's goal for Barcelona in a clash with Athletic Bilbao in Spain's Copa del Rey.

All of the awards are due to presented at a ceremony at the Kongresshaus in Zurich, Switzerland, on January 11, 2016.

Related stories
November 2015: 
FIFA reveal list of nominations for Puskás Award
October 2015: Ronaldo and Messi to battle it out again for Ballon d'Or as FIFA reveal list of nominees
October 2015: German goalkeeper in contention for second FIFA women’s world player of the year crown
January 2014: Ronaldo and Angerer named FIFA world players of the year