Messi v Ronaldo: Ballon d’Or rivals’ top 2014 moments relived

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World Cup winner Manuel Neuer certainly deserves recognition for his efforts in Germany and Bayern Munich’s net, but there is no doubt it is the usual suspects who have wowed the most yet again in 2014.

Despite the final shortlist of three only just being announced, Cristiano Ronaldo has got FIFA’s 2014 Ballon d’Or in the bag according to Ladbrokes, who make the Portuguese a 1/6 shot for successive accolades.

However, a late surge of record-breaking has thrust 7/1-shot Lionel Messi back into the frame to claim a fifth world player of the year award.

As you’ll see from our list of highlights from the two players’ calendar years, there is actually far less to separate this modern-day football wonders than the betting suggests.

Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid and Portugal

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.Wins Cop del Rey despite missing final through injury

.Becomes first player to score 17 goals in one Champions League campaign

.Scores in the Champions League final to help seal a tenth European Cup for Los Blancos

.Scores 51 goals in a season for Real Madrid including the one voted the best in La Liga 2013/14

.Finishes as La Liga’s top scorer and shares European Golden Shoe with Luis Suarez

.Wins UEFA Best Player in Europe Award

Lionel Messi – Barcelona and Argentina

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.Wins Copa del Rey top scorer award

.Wins World Cup Golden Ball after helping fire Argentina to final

.Breaks Champions League all-time scoring record

.Breaks La Liga’s all-time scoring record

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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