The FIFA Ballon d’Or has been the talk of the last week or two, or rather of the last two months ever since the voting deadline had been extended.
The most prestigious individual award in world football will be handed out tonight from 7:30 (SA time) in Zurich. Messi – Ronaldo, Ronaldo – Messi, or may be even Franck Ribery?
Just to recall, FIFA defines the award as “bestowed according to on-field performance and overall behaviour on and off the pitch.”
Here is what the three stars had to say:
“Do I deserve to win it? Maybe I do, just like I did last year or two years ago. I think I deserve to win the Ballon d’Or every year.” Cristiano Ronaldo, who figures on the FIFA Ballon d’Or shortlist for the sixth time in the last seven years.
“It’s a pleasure to be among the three finalists and it makes me very proud. To my mind team awards are the ones that really count, but it’s always nice to be recognised. And if I don’t win the Ballon d’Or, then it won’t be the end of the world either.” Lionel Messi, who is aiming to win his fifth consecutive FIFA Ballon d’Or.
“I’m going to carry on being happy whether I win or not. I’m just pleased to be among the contenders with Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi.” Franck Ribery, who is on the three-man shortlist for the very first time.
What counts more – individual performance, team success or natural skills? The international football fraternity is unsure on who deserves this year’s Ballon d’Or most.
“All three deserve to win the Ballon d’Or, but I think it should go to Santa Claus.” – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
“He (Cristiano) deserved to win it before and it would be very unfair if he doesn’t come away with it this time. No matter what happens, he’s still the best player in the world. I’m absolutely sure of that. ” – Portugal coach Paulo Bento
"Franck (Ribery) has had an incredible season. He deserves the prize." – Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola
“My favourite for the Ballon d’Or this year is Messi. The reason? Simply because he’s an extraordinary player.” – Brazilian Ronaldo de Lima
“If you ask me,Cristiano Ronaldo is still the best. Messi might not like it and he might come up and tell me: ‘You never vote for me’. But I didn’t vote for him because I think Cristiano deserves it, especially this year.” – Former Portugal and current Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari
“I’m going for Messi because he deserves it, because of what he represents for us and because he’s a team-mate and friend of mine.” – Barcelona player Andres Iniesta
“Ribery is surely one of the best players in the world and the best of all over the last year. Without him, Bayern wouldn't have won the treble - one or two trophies perhaps, but not all three. Franck Ribery made a huge contribution, so I cross my fingers that he'll win the award.” – Franz Beckenbauer
“Ronaldo and Messi are still at a superior level. I don’t dare predict who will win it.” – Bayern Munich and Netherlands winger Arjen Robben
“Personally I’d like to see Messi win the trophy, though I have to admit that Cristiano Ronaldo deserves it.” – Former Brazil and Barcelona star Rivaldo
“I’d give the Ballon d’Or to Leo Messi, and if he doesn’t get it then I hope it goes to Ribery. Cristiano Ronaldo? He comes after Messi and Franck.”– Barcelona player Xavi Hernandez
The Soccer Laduma journalists have also voted for their own FIFA Ballon d’Or winner and in our offices the decision was quite clear. Ribery came in at number three in our Ballon d’Or countdown and we will reveal our top two later today.
But now it’s your turn, who will win the 2013 Ballon d’Or and please give your reason’s why?
Soccer Laduma will be covering the whole 2013 FIFA Ballon d'Or award ceremony from 7:30 tonight.