The highly prestigious Ballon d’Or award ceremony takes place tonight in Zurich as three incredible players vie for soccer’s top prize. Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer will all be on stage as the sport’s highest individual honor is announced live.

Either Ronaldo or Messi have won the award the past six years and are the heavy favorites to make it a seventh consecutive year. Messi has won the award a record four times and won it in consecutive years from 2009 -2012. Ronaldo won the prize in 2008, again last year in 2013 and is the overwhelming favorite to hoist the trophy again this year. Ronaldo scored 61 goals over the course of 2014 and led Real Madrid to a European Cup and a UEFA Champions league title.

Ronaldo Ballon d'Or Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo holds his trophy after being awarded the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2013 in Zurich January 13, 2014. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

The pint-sized man known as “La Pulga” is the favorite to finish second this year for the award, as Messi did not have his most dominant year in 2014. In years past, Messi left no doubt he was the best player on the planet in winning the award. However, after an injury-riddled campaign in 2013, Messi did not bounce back to his unheralded high standards in 2014. Messi scored 45 goals in only 48 games but became the all-time leading scorer in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League. Additionally, he lead Argentina to the 2014 World Cup Final in Brazil almost entirely by himself as he carried his team on his back through group play and into the knockout rounds.

If World Cup glory is important in crowning the 2014 FIFA Ballon d’Or winner, then look no further than Germany’s Manuel Neuer. Neuer was absolutely dominant during the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament in Brazil as Germany defeated Argentina in a 1-0 shutout to hoist the cup. Individually, Neuer took home the Golden Glove award for the tournament’s top goalkeeper. His defense in net led Bayern Munich to another Bundesliga title and a German Cup to boot. However, history is not on Neuer’s side as no keeper has won the Ballon d’Or since Lev Yashin in 1963.

We believe that despite the great year that Messi and Neuer had, they can’t light a candle to Cristiano Ronaldo. He was above and beyond the best goal scorer on the planet in 2014, and he led his team to the most hardware. He may have not performed as well as his counterparts in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but let’s be honest, Portugal was not expected to go very far anyway. There’s nothing stopping Ronaldo from collecting the hat trick for Ballon d’Ors and bringing his mini-me son upon stage with him to accept the award for the second consecutive year.

Ronaldo is due and Messi and Neuer will go home disappointed. Our hats are off however to all the players nominated this year for the 2014 FIFA Ballon d’Or and each and every one of them should be proud of their accomplishments in 2014. Tell us whom you think will be named the winner of soccer’s top individual prize in our poll below.

The 2014 FIFA Ballon d’Or ceremony will air live on Monday, January 12th, 2015 from Zurich, Switzerland. It begins at 12:30 PM EST and will air in the US on Fox Sports. It can be live streamed here and here. In addition to the Ballon d’Or prize, the Women’s player of the year, men and women’s coach of the year and the Puskas award for goal of the year will also be presented. Colombia’s own James Rodriguez is the favorite to take home the best goal of 2014 award.