Safe hands: FC Bayern and Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has plenty of high-profile names fighting his corner in the battle for the 2014 FIFA Ballon d'Or
Safe hands: FC Bayern and Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has plenty of high-profile names fighting his corner in the battle for the 2014 FIFA Ballon d'Or
Bundesliga

Stars back Neuer to win 2014 FIFA Ballon d'Or

Cologne: "It's fair to say I'm not the favourite," admitted FC Bayern München and Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer when quizzed on his chances of beating Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to the 2014 FIFA Ballon d'Or.

There are, however, plenty of big names out there who would care to disagree, as bundesliga.com found out with less than 24 hours to go until Monday's award ceremony in Zürich, Switzerland...

Diego Maradona (1986 FIFA World Cup winner with Argentina):

"Not Messi or Ronaldo - my candidate is Neuer, who deserves it the most. I think Ronaldo and Messi are taking some time out."

Giovanni Trapattoni (Former FC Bayern and Italy head coach):

"He's invincible, a bit like Dino Zoff [Italy's 1982-World Cup winning goalkeeper]. I love those players. He could also play as a striker. It would be something different if a goalkeeper gets voted FIFA World Player of the Year."

Lukas Podolski (FC Internazionale Milano and Germany forward):

"I want to voice my support for Manuel Neuer in the race for the Ballon d'Or. What more do you need to do to win?"

Petr Cech (Chelsea FC and Czech Republic goalkeeper):

"A goalkeeper's got the best shot at winning it this year. Hopefully! Good luck!"