Will he lift his fifth Ballon d'Or?

Will he lift his fifth Ballon d’Or?

FIFA and France Football have officially announced today that Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Franck RibAi??ry are the three finalists who will be competing for this year’s Ballon d’Or. The winner of the world’s most prestigious individual award will be announced on 13th January in Zurich, Switzerland.

FC Barcelona striker Messi has made the final cut every year since 2007. In his first year of nomination, he came third behind KakA? and Cristiano Ronaldo. He lost to Cristiano Ronaldo in 2008 as he had Champions League medal to his credit that year. But that was the last year somebody other than Messi won the award. The Argentina captain has won the four consecutive awards in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Real Madrid winger is also the habitual nominee of this award. He was second in 2007 (behind Kaka), before winning the award in 2008 for his stellar performances in the Champions League for Manchester United. Since then however, Messi has stood in the way of free scoring Portuguese. Ronaldo lost to his fierce rival in 2009, 2011 and 2012, but he failed to make the final cut in 2010 ai??i?? when all final three nominations went to the Barca players.

RibAi??ry on the other hand, has never been nominated to this prestigious award earlier. This year however, he has been the flagship player of a Bayern side that has won everything, including the Bundesliga and the Champions League. The form of Ribery was the main reason behind the unprecedented success of Bayern last season.

The three finalists have all had very different year so far. Leo Messi was unplayable between January and April, before an injury in the Champions League marked the start of a series of problems that are still plaguing him today. However, this did not stop him scoring 47 league goals. Messi however, is not favorite amongst the bookmakers to win the award.

Cristiano Ronaldo has had an outstanding end to 2013, putting in match-winning performances for both Real Madrid and Portugal. CR7 scored all 4 goals of Portugal against Sweden in all important World Cup qualifiers. He is also enjoying a record breaking start to the season at Real Madrid as he is at number one position in European Golden Shoe list.

Ribery is also enjoying the best year of his professional career till date. He has already won the UEFA Best Player in Europe and now ready to put icing on the cake. During the 2012-13 season, RibAi??ry had the most assists with 15 in the Bundesliga.

On the other hand, for the Womenai??i??s category, Nadine AngererAi??(Germany),Ai??MartaAi??(Brazil) andAi??Abby WambachAi??(USA)ai??i?? are the final three nominees. And for the Puskas award which is given for the best goal, three nominees are: Zlatan Ibrahimovich, Nemanja Matic and Neymar.

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