Zurich - FC Bayern's Manuel Neuer enjoyed a sensational year in 2014, but even winning a FIFA World Cup wasn't enough for the 28-year-old to walk away with the FIFA Ballon d'Or award.
Scroll down to relive the 2014 FIFA Ballon d'Or ceremony as it happened...
That gong went to Real Madrid CF's Cristiano Ronaldo, but it was still a hugely successful day for German football, with three Bundesliga stars, including Neuer, named in the FIFPro Team of the Year 2014 and Joachim Löw walking away with the Coach of the Year award.
23:45 And that brings an end to our live text coverage of the 2014 FIFA Ballon d'Or gala. Not the end result we all hoped for, but a stellar night for German football nonetheless, with three FC Bayern München players making the 2014 FIFPro World XI, a World Coach of the Year accolade for Joachim Löw and, of course, a top-three finish for Manuel Neuer in the race for the Ballon d'Or. He deserved more, but there's no reason why he, or indeed another Bundesliga player, won't make the podium this time next year. We are talking about the league of the world champions after all. Until then, we bid you all a fond bis bald!
23:27 Earlier tonight, Sky Deutschland pundit and former Germany international Christoph Metzelder congratulated both Neuer and Ronaldo, but not before making the point that not even 'CR7' could get past 'SuperManu' in Group G's opener at the World Cup. Germany won that one 4-0, remember.
23:06 One of Manuel Neuer's understudies at international level, Hannover 96 and Germany stopper Ron-Robert Zieler, shared Lahm's view: "I really wanted it for Manu because he was exceptional the world over in the past year. He set new boundaries, especially at the World Cup. Still, respect and compliments to Cristiano Ronaldo, who's a fantastic footballer."
22:55 Bayern skipper Philipp Lahm weighs into the post-ceremony debate, saying: "It's a shame. We all wanted it for Manuel [Neuer]. "He's put his own stamp on goalkeeping in recent years."
Bundesliga cult legend
has his own inimitable take on events in Zürich: "When you come home, you won't be World Footballer of the Year, but you'll be
: World Champion, the world's best goalkeeper and, in our hearts, the world's best footballer."
22:34 Toni Kroos was named alongside Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm and Arjen Robben in the FIFPro World XI following his performances for former club FC Bayern, Germany and current employers Real Madrid CF over the course of 2014. The 25-year-old was pleased to see Los Blancos team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo retain the Ballon d'Or, but didn't see Neuer coming in third: "Manuel finishing third is definitely a surprise and a bit undeserved. I thought it'd be close between Ronaldo and Manu. Manu deserved it, he was the best goalkeeper, but Cristiano also earned it as the best outfield player."
22:24 Former FC Bayern head coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, who was in Zürich to present Joachim Löw with the World Coach of the Year prize believes Manuel Neuer's chance to be crowned the world's best footballer could still come. "You have to accept the result," said the retired strategist after the ceremony. "Attacking players may be more entertaining to watch as they score goals. I had my fingers crossed for Neuer, but maybe time wasn’t ripe for a goalkeeper to win it. Neuer can give it another shot this year, though."
's the World Footballer of the Year for me," says Bayern and Germany midfielder
, who also congratulated
on becoming World Coach of the Year via Twitter…
The final Ballon d'Or results paper further underlines the strides the Bundesliga continues to make, with no less than four FC Bayern München players making the top six…
Fellow World Cup winner
tells his former FC Schalke 04 team-mate: "Our best times are still to come. Congratulations
on such an exceptional year, Germany's No1!"
I'd have given it [the Ballon d'Or] to Neuer," says
. "He can be very proud of what he has achieved."
doffs his hat to club-mates
for making the 2014 FIFPro World XI, as well as FIFA Coach of the Year winner
finds time to thank his fans via Twitter for voting and congratulates Ronaldo on winning the prize…
20:36 Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is in no doubt Neuer deserved to make the final three: "It's great that, after Franck Ribery, a Bayern player is seen as one of the best three players in the world for the second successive year. We're incredibly proud of Manuel Neuer. It's confirmation of his outstanding performances [after] a superb year in which he played a brilliant World Cup and set a new benchmark for goalkeeping. There's no doubt he deserved it - even to win it."
20:24 It seems there's nothing that can take the shine off what's been an unparalleled year of success for Manuel Neuer: "I leave here with a smile. It's been a great day for me. The whole of 2014 was unbelievable, we were able to celebrate so many successes. It'll stay in my memory forever."
20:02Manuel Neuer finishes third in the FIFA Ballon d’Or 2014
The greatest prize eludes Manuel Neuer but it's still been a sensational year for him.
20:00 Now it's time for the big one, and that's quite an entrance for Monsieur Thierry Henry, who recently retired from playing football. The Frenchman is there to present the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2014 award to one of Neuer, Messi or Ronaldo.
19:56 Nadine Kessler is named the Women's World Player of the Year. Congratulations!
19:49 Christian Karembeu, a former World Cup winner with France in 1998, is next onto the stage. After a short message urging the importance of cleanliness amidst the spread of ebola, he prepares to reveal the winner of the Puskas Award for the goal of the year. The contenders are Stephanie Roche, James Rodriguez and Robin van Persie. And the winner is James Rodriguez, for that stunning volley against Uruguay in the World Cup.
19:43 Abby Wambach is invited up by Kate Abdo as the second contender for the women's best player, before a short musical interlude. The other contenders, Nadine Kessler of Wolfsburg and Brazilian superstar Marta of FC Rosengard, follows her.
Following another look back at the 2014 World Cup, Philip Lahm and Joachim Löw are back on stage now. "It was a great summer for us and we really played as a team," says Lahm. "We have the potential to continue to develop," adds Löw. "That is the challenge now: to win two or three or four major tournaments."
19:25 After a round of appreciation for the FIFA volunteers, Barcelona coach Luis Enrique is invited to the stage. He sends his regards and best wishes to Lionel Messi, before former Argentina international, and one of Messi's idols Pablo Aimar does the same va video link. "I still love playing the game as much as I did when I was a kid."
Congratulations, Joachim Löw!"
says Bayern's Jerome Boateng.
After Brazilian female contender Marta takes to the stage, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke comes on to present the next gong, the FIFA Fairplay Award. And the winner are the volunteers of FIFA tournaments.
Joachim Low wins 2014 FIFA World Coach of the Year
The mastermind of Germany's World Cup triumph is recognised once again for a phenomenal year's work. "This award isn't just for me. Coaches all over Germany deserve this too for the great work they do on a daily basis that makes my job easier. Of course I owe thanks to the Bundesliga, the league without which this success would not have been possible and continues to deliver such a high level of football.Thank you all very much."
19:08 Now it's time for the award for the coach of the year in the women's game, and the winner is the man behind VfL Wolfsburg's all-conquerting team, Ralf Kellerman.
19:03 We're getting closer to finding out the winner of the main prize - the Ballon d'Or. Up first to the stage again as last year's winner is Cristiano Ronaldo, scorer of 61 goals in 2014 and winner of the Champions League and Spanish Cup. "The main trophy we needed to win last season was the Champions League and it was a fantastic moment." Rafael Nadal even chimes in via video link: "Good luck and congratulations on a great career Cristiano!"
18:56 The next award is the FIFA Presidential award, and it's awarded to Japanese journalist Hiroshi Kagawa, after a lifetime of writing about football to promote the game in his homeland. Well done that man.
18:46 And now the strikers: Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Bayern's Arjen Robben. The Dutchman's favourite goal? "Without a doubt the winning goal in the 2013 Champions League final against Dortmund!"
18.43 The three midfielders now: Angel Di Maria of Manchester United, Toni Kroos of Real Madrid (and formerly of Bayern) and Andres Iniesta of Barcelona.
18:41 Then it's the four defenders to be announced, and one of them is a familiar face: FC Bayern's Philipp Lahm! Accompanying him in the back four are Paris Saint-Germain duo Thiago Silva and David Luiz and Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos.
18:33 Kate Abdo invites the six contenders for the FIFA World Player of the Year in men's and women's football: Manuel Neuer, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and Nadine Kessler, Abby Wambach and Marta - to take to the stage to be presented to the audience. Two of them will be back up there very soon to receive the greatest individual honour in professional football.
18:22 After an introduction from presenter Kate Abdo, FIFA President Sepp Blatter takes to the stage. In his opening address he looks back on a hugely successful 2014 FIFA World Cup - mentioning, of course, the victorious German team - and an eventful year in world history. Echoing the late Nelson Mandela, he says: "Let's celebrate humanity through football."
18:15 - Ceremony begins
The crowds are gathering outside the FIFA headquarters...
17:30 CET - One hour until ceremony begins
Not long to go now....
A good omen, perhaps?
15:30 CET - Three hours until ceremony begins
"Manuel Neuer: come back to Doha as the Ballon d'Or winner!"
says Thomas Müller.
13:30 CET - Five hours until ceremony begins
Team-mates from Neuer's past and present have been showing their support for the Germany World Cup winner on social media:
11:30 CET - Seven hours until ceremony begins
Here are a bunch of reasons why Neuer could and should win the greatest prize of them all this evening...
Let's not forget that Neuer's team-mate
is also making his way to Switzerland from the Reds' training camp in Doha, Qatar. After a stunning calendar year himself, could the Dutchman find himself named in the FIFA FIFPro World XI for 2014?