The world's biggest soccer stars will be honoured Monday evening during the inaugural The Best FIFA Football awards 2016 ceremony at the TPC Studios in Zurich, Switzerland.
The inaugural event takes place after the decision to hand out the Ballon d'Or and the FIFA Best Men's Player awards in two separate ceremonies. The Ballon d'Or award, which remains the most cherished honour in the world of soccer, was announced on Dec. 12, 2016. Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portugal and Real Madrid forward, won the award for the fourth time in his illustrious career, beating Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann.
For the past six years, the Ballon d'Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year were presented in conjuncture to the best player in a calendar year. However, after popular magazine France Football ended its six-year association with soccer's world governing body, FIFA saw the need for a separate ceremony and awards.
At Monday's event, the FIFA Best Men's player award, Best Women's Player and the FIFA Puskas award (recognising the best goal of 2016) will be presented at the ceremony which begins at 6:30 PM CET (12:30 PM ET, Tuesday 3:30 AM AEST, 4:30 AM AEDT).
The Best FIFA Football Awards: Cristiano Ronaldo expected to win top prize
After announcing 30 finalists for the top prize, FIFA shortlisted the nominees to three on Dec. 2. Ronaldo, expected to win the Best Men's player honour, Messi and Griezmann emerged as the top three players of the calendar year.
Earlier in 2016, Ronaldo experienced the high point of his career when he led Portugal to the UEFA Euro 2016 championship, while taking his personal tally of international goals to 68. With Ronaldo leading the charge, the Portuguesse national team won its first-ever major soccer championship, their best showing since the third-place finish in the 1966 FIFA World Cup in England.
Meanwhile, American star Carli Lloyd is among the shortlist for the Best Women's Player which includes Brazil's Marta and Germany's Melanie Behringer. Lyod, who won the 2015 FIFA Women's World Player of the Year award, scored 17 goals in 2016 for the U.S. national team.
While the Ballon d'Or was decided by a worldwide panel of 73 sports journalists, the FIFA awards have a different voting process, the world soccer body announced in a statement. "The Best trophies for player and coach of the year, in both men's and women's football, will be the result of a combined voting process, in which 50 percent of the decision will be taken based on the choices of captains and head coaches of all national teams around the globe.
"The other 50 percent will be split between the result of an online public ballot and the submissions from a selected group of over 200 media representatives from the six continents."
The Best FIFA Football Awards live stream: How to watch