The final contenders for the biggest individual football award have been announced on FIFA.com today. The two obvious contenders Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were joined by Bayern’s Franck Ribery.
All three have been on the 23 men shortlist, which was compiled by members of FIFA’s Football Committee as well as experts from France Football. Journalists, national coaches and national captains all had their vote for the winner of the FIFA Ballon d’Or, who will be announced on the 13th of January.
Messi has won the trophy for the past four consecutive years, but 2008 winner Cristiano Ronaldo could potentially have the edge in this year’s edition after the voting deadline had been extended recently.
The Barca forward Messi has been brilliant once again and scored 46 goals in his 32 La Liga appearances last season, but only the ones scored in the whole of 2013 (28) will count for the competition. It has been far from being his most productive year and he has spent a lot of time side-lined due to injury.
Counting all 2013 competitions but international friendlies Ronaldo’s goal scoring (67) is greater than the combined of Messi (45) and Ribery (21). However, when it comes to trophies the Real Madrid star and his side have missed out against their direct rivals.
Barcelona won the La Liga title ahead of Real and Bayern Munich the Champions League as part of the club's first triple. Many pundits say Ribery has had a massive impact in Bayern's form and therefor deserves the title ahead of the two main contenders.
But Ronaldo's briliant display on national duty had a massive contribution towards his countries World Cup qualification. In his nine appearances Ronaldo scored 10 goals for Portugal – including his four goals in the two-legged playoff against Sweden.
Despite Ribery’s France also progressing through a World Cup playoff the Bayern winger wasn’t as decisive as his Portugal counterpart. Argentina didn’t have any difficulties in qualifying for the World Cup and Messie was the second-highest marksman in the South American qualifiers.
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