With Lionel Messi seemingly out of the running thanks to a string of injuries this year, we may have a different Ballon d’Or winner for the first time in four years.
It’s often less than difficult to predict the winner, and this year the favorite seems to be one of either Franck Ribery or Cristiano Ronaldo.
While Ronaldo no doubt has the numbers advantage, Ribery’s performances for Bayern Munich in their unprecedented treble last season are certainly giving the Portugese superstar a run for his money.
A fiery player on the field, Ribery has played this year’s selection for the sport’s most prestigious award with both touches of class and of confidence.
“I do not know if I will win, however I think I deserve it,” says Ribery. “Before I was a good player, now I think I’m the best.”
The Frenchman says while he may not always be his own biggest supporter, his friends and family certainly are.
“I try not to think about the Ballon d’Or,” the 30-year-old told L’Equipe. “But my wife has already prepared the space above the fireplace in the living room. I do get a lot of belief from her and all of Bayern.”
Ronaldo this season has 16 La Liga goals in just 13 matches, and eight goals in four Champions League games for Real Madrid. He finished the second half of last season (starting on January 1) with 20 goals in 17 league matches, and six in the Champions League.
Ribery, however, has electrified the left wing of the Bundesliga powerhouse, and was awarded the UEFA Best Player of the Year award at the end of August. Last season, Andres Iniesta won that award, but fell to Messi for the much more prestigious Ballon d’Or.
The award will be announced on January 13, 2014.