Zurich provides the setting for the first major football event of the year, the FIFA Ballon d’Or 2011 Gala, which takes place on Monday 9 January.
The highlight of the star-studded evening will be the unveiling of the second FIFA Ballon d’Or winner, while the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year and the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football and Women’s Football will also be named, along with the winner of the FIFA Puskas Award and a clutch of other accolades.
Don't forget to follow FIFA.com on Twitter @FIFAcom for all the latest from Zurich.
LATEST UPDATE! 8.15 CET - That's all from us on what has been an exciting evening of appreciation for the world of football. Thanks for joining us and here's looking for forward to a 2012 full of excitement and drama on the pitch!
UPDATE! 8.07 CET - Thanks for being with us as we found out who the winners from 2011 were tonight. Soon you will be able to relive the entire ceremony and see a new selection of players, coaches and figures from the world of football write their names into history all over again.
UPDATE! 8.01 CET - On receiving his award Lionel Messi said: "It is a big pleasure to win the third, a big honor. I want to thank the team-mates, players and coaches that voted me. I want to thank my Barcelona and Argentina teammates, without them this would have been impossible. But most of all, I want to share it with Xavi: you deserve this as much as I do."
UPDATE! 7.59 CET - The winner of the FIFA Balon d'Or 2011 is Lionel Messi, beating Barcelona team-mate Xavi and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo to claim the title for the third successive year, having won both titles in 2009 and the first unified award last year.
UPDATE! 7.53 CET - Now the final award of the night, the FIFA Ballon d'Or, which will be presented by two-time FIFA World Cup™-winner Ronaldo of Brazil, the scorer of the most goals at the competition at 15. He was FIFA World Player of the Year in 1996, 1997 and 2002 as well as winning the Ballon d'Or in 1997 and 2002.
UPDATE! 7.50 CET - Shakira and FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter have presented the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year award to Homare Sawa, having led Japan to the FIFA Women's World Cup title in Germany last year.
UPDATE! 7.47 CET - Following a brief interlude from James Blunt we are now ready for the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year, which sees Marta, Homare Sawa and Abby Wambach up for the award.
UPDATE! 7.43 CET - Having been voted as the scorer of the best goal from 2011, picking up the FIFA Puskas Award, Neymar said: "I am very happy to be part of this party and have been compiting with this two great players. I’m very grateful to god and all you. Enjoy this party."
UPDATE! 7.42 CET - On receiving the FIFA Fair Play Award 2011, Japanese Football Association President Junji Ogura said: "Its a great honour for the JFA to receive such a prestigious award from FIFA. We will do our best to continue to prepare in our activities. We are very proud in this award."
UPDATE! 7.40 CET - Mexican legend Hugo Sanchez has announced Neymar as the winner of the FIFA Puskas Award 2011, as voted by you, for his goal against Flamengo for Santos, beating Wayne Rooney's goal for Manchester United against Manchester City and Lionel Messi's effort for Barcelona against Arsenal.
UPDATE! 7.35 CET - On receiving the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men's Football, Pep Guardiola gave a humble speech. He said: "I would like to share this award with Mourinho and Ferguson. It is an honour. And all the coaches around the world who share this passion. And also to the thousand of people than over 100 years have worked and develop Barcelona. It is a privilege to be part of such an incredible club. And finally, i would like to dedicate this award to Tito Vilanova, my assistant, my colleague, my friend who cant be here tonight. This is for you."
UPDEATE! 7.34 CET - The Japanese Football Association has been awarded the FIFA Fair Play Award 2011, following their reaction to the devastating earthquake and tsunami the nation suffered last year.
UPDATE! 7.30 CET - Voting for the FIFA Puskas Award has now closed. Thank you for voting! The winner will be announced a little later this evening.
UPDATE! 7.29 CET - And the winner of the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men's Football is Pep Guardiuola of Barcelona, beating Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United and Joe Mourinho of Real Madrid to the title.
UPDATE! 7.27 CET - On being presented with Presedential Award, Sir Alex Ferguson said: "This is very much appreciated. No matter the honour I get, I feel its been the recognition for the 25 years of Manchester United. They always shared my vision and passion. I’ve been a very lucky manager. That makes Manchester United such a special club. The courage to play and the courage to try and win is more important than anything."
UPDATE! 7.25 CET - Norio Sasaki has been named the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women's football having led Japan to the FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany last year.
UPDATE! 7.22 CET - Next up is the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women's Football, pitting Bruno Bini of France, Norio Sasaki of Japan and Pia Sunhage of Sweden.
UPDATE! 7.20 CET - A series of testimonials commemorating Sir Alex Ferguson's commitment to the game have seen a number of telling quotes from the biggest names in the game. Jose Mourinho: "I don't call him Sir Alex, I call him boss." Eric Cantona: "Winner." Cristiano Ronaldo: "Great. Five stars" David Beckham: "Like a father figure to me."
UPDATE! 7.17 CET - FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter has presented the Presidential Award to Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, saying: "“Elite football is about results and winning. There is no one better at it than him."
UPDATE! 7.12 CET - On appearing to present the FIFA/FIFPro World XI, Pele said: “I'm very honoured to be here. I want to invited all of you to the World Cup in 2014 in Brazil. This will be your house in 2014.”
UPDATE! 7.08 CET - The FIFA/FIFPro World XI, as revealed by three-time FIFA World Cup-winner Pele, is Iker CASILLAS, Sergio RAMOS, Gerard PIQUE, Nemanja VIDIC, Daniel ALVES, Andres INIESTA, XAVI, Xabi ALONSO, Cristiano RONALDO, Wayne ROONEY, Lionel MESSI.
UPDATE! 7.05 CET - USA Woman's team-mate Alex Morgan has given her support to Abby Wambach on Twitter, who has been nominated for the FIFA Women's Player of the Year: "Good luck @AbbyWambach you deserve #ballondor not only for your performance this year, but also your leadership and selflessness."
UPDATE! 7.00 CET - The FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala is now under way, watch the full ceremony on the video above, and don't forget to vote for the FIFA Puskas Award!
UPDATE! 6.58 CET - USA and Atlanta Beat midfielder has told @FIFAcom on Twitter that she believes that the race for the FIFA Ballon d'Or will be a tight one. "My 2 favs are Messi and Xavi. Can't wait find out!"
UPDATE! 6.55 CET - Real Madrid legend Emilio Butragueño: "It is very important for Real Madrid to be here. Four of our players are nominated and our coach as well, that means a lot for us. Any individual award is an award for our team."
UPDATE! 6.48 CET - Everton and Netherlands defender John Heitinga has given has opinion to @FIFAcom on Twitter on who he thinks will win this year's FIFA Ballon d'Or. He's gone with Lionel Messi.
UPDATE! 6.43 CET - The red carpet has been awash with stars, Zinedine Zidane, Lothar Matthaus, Marco Van Basten, Gunther Netzer, Xavi, Neymar, Gerard Pique, amongst many others, were there. Check back soon to read their thoughts on the gala.
UPDATE! 6.40 CET - There's just 20 minutes to go before the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2011 Gala gets under way. Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff has given his supported to nominee Lionel Messi saying: "Messi will be the player to win the most Ballons d'Or in history. He will win five, six, seven. He is incomparable. He's in a different league."
UPATE! 5.44 CET - Two England midfielders have had their say! Jill Scott, who was named in the All-Star squad for her performances at the FIFA Women's World Cup Germany 2011 believes that Homare Sawa will win the women's award tonight, while Jermaine Jenas is backing Xavi for the men's gong.
UPDATE! 5.25 CET - The men's nominees (players and coaches) press conference is now available to view on demand and can be viewed by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.
UPDATE! 5.23 CET - As the stars gather on the red carpet for this evening's Ballon D'Or, including Shakira, two members of the Netherlands squad Gregory van der Wiel and Khalid Boulahrouz have told @FIFA.com that they think Messi will win, while USA women's footballing legend Christie Rampone has given her backing to team-mate Abby Wambach.
UPDATE! 5.11 CET - Now USA striker Jozy Altidore and Aston Villa's Charles N'Zogbia have added their opinions to FIFA.com's twitter account (@FIFAcom) by giving their respective backing to Barcelona's Lionel Messi.
UPDATE! 5.01 CET - The women's nominees and FIFA Interactive World Cup winner press conferences are now available to view on demand and can be viewed by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.
UPDATE! 4.40 CET - Everton and France striker Louis Saha echoes the sentiments of his former Goodison team-mate Steven Pienaar by backing his prediction for tonight's FIFA Ballon d'Or in Zurich, saying: "Would say Messi [will] top it, Ronaldo very close in second."
UPDATE! 4.34 CET - Adding to Steven Pienaar's tweet from before, Arsenal and England captain Faye White has had her say - "Only one winner for me this year ...Homare Sawa gets my vote! Amazing performance in her 5th World Cup!"
UPDATE! 3.33 CET - Football icon Pele has been spotted in the Kongresshaus with Brazil star Neymar.
UPDATE! 3.17 CET - Lionel Messi, Xavi, Alex Ferguson and Pep Guardiola have taken centre stage for their press conference. Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho were unable to attend due to Real Madrid's forthcoming fixture against Malaga.
Sir Alex Ferguson: "It's easy for me to stay at Manchester United as I've been there for so long. Planning is easier. I'm at the right club."
Pep Guardiola: "The fact that so many players have come from our academy has made my job easier. They know all about each other."
Lionel Messi: "Individual awards are extremely special, but what we achieved is even more important."
Xavi: "I've been lucky enough to play for a club like Barcelona during a historic period. I just want to keep on enjoying it.
UPDATE! 2.53 CET - South Africa and Spurs star Steven Pienaar has given @FIFAcom his verdict as to who will win the 2011 FIFA Ballon d'Or. He believes that Lionel Messi will emerge as the winner, with Cristiano Ronaldo coming in second.
UPDATE! 2.48 CET - Manchester United and England star Wayne Rooney presented the FIFA Interactive World Cup winner Francisco Cruz with his award.
UPDATE! 2.19 CET - The press conference for the Women's Coach and Player of the Year started at 14.02 local time. The FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year candidates Marta, Homare Sawa and Abby Wambach were joined by Bruno Bini, Norio Sasaki and Pia Sundhage, the three nominees for the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football award. Each of them took turns to address the media. Here is a brief selection of what was said:
Marta: "It's a great honour to be here. It's wonderful to be recognised in this way for the entire year's work."
Homare Sawa: "I'm delighted to be here. It was always a dream to win the World Cup, but the team exceeded even my expectations."
Abby Wambach: "The only reason I'm here is bacause of a fantastic supporting cast. I'm lucky to have them. Thanks to them all."
Bruno Bini: "I'm humbled to be here. It's a tribute to the determination of the entire team and federation."
Norio Sasaki: "Our result in Germany was particularly significant because of the events of the 11 March earthquake."
Pia Sundhage: "I'm happy that people care about the women's game. I believe we're seeing the beginning of something special."
UPDATE! 12.36 CET - The final preparations for this evening's event are in full swing. Check out videos with presenters Ruud Gullit and Kay Murray by clicking on the videos link at the bottom of this page.
At 17.00 it is on to Zurich’s Kongresshaus, where a fan zone will be set up beside the red carpet to give the lucky locals a chance to get the autographs of the players, coaches and celebrities attending the glittering show. Naturally, the FIFA.com team will be there to bring you the views of those present in a series of exclusive interviews, available for you to read on the site.
FIFA.com will also be offering live coverage* of the Gala itself, which gets under way at 19.00. You will find out who wins what just as soon as the awards are announced, and when the show is over we will be talking exclusively to the winners and their fellow nominees. All the interviews will be available for you to read on the site, which will also feature videos and photos of the Gala and the backstage scenes.
So make sure you log on to FIFA.com next Monday and keep up to date with all the events at what promises to be a very special FIFA Ballon d’Or 2011 Gala.
In the meantime you can decide the fate of the FIFA Puskas Award by voting for your goal of 2011, and there is also a chance to win an exclusive signed shirt by playing the FIFA/FIFPro World XI Predictor.
*The Gala will not be broadcast in certain territories. A full list of areas without access is available by clicking the link on the right hand side.