Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti is backing Cristiano Ronaldo to win the Fifa Ballon d’Or later on Monday and says the Portuguese had a “fantastic year” for the club in 2014.
Ancelotti is up for the Coach of the Year award along with Germany boss Joachim Low and Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone and all three spoke ahead of the ceremony in Zurich.
“Cristiano had a fantastic year,” the Italian said. “I have spoken a lot of times about him. It was a great season for us; we won the Champions League and he scored 17 goals in the competition. He had a lot of consistency and produced a fantastic effort for the team.”
But Low claims Neuer would be a worthy winner of the individual award after his starring role in Germany’s World Cup win.
“Manuel Neuer has produced some outstanding performances,” he said. “He is responsible for our victory. He has marked a new kind of goalkeeping, something we have never seen before. He is a player who is acting outside the area. He is a player who deserves to win.”
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi is also in the running for the award, which would be his fifth, and Low added: “All things considered, all three players deserve it.”
For Simeone, meanwhile, it is more about the collective at Atletico than outstanding individuals such as Messi, Ronaldo and Neuer.
“It’s important for me to see how my footballers identify with my vision,” he said. “One of our biggest challenges for me is to transmit this, because the players need to be able to understand. Once we’ve achieved that it’s a great feeling.”