Messi, Ribery & Ronaldo make Ballon d'Or final three
Lionel Messi, Franck Ribery and Cristiano Ronaldo have been named on the final three-man shortlist for the 2013 Ballon d’Or.
Following his pivotal role in Bayern Munich’s historic treble last season, Ribery was viewed by many as the initial favourite for the award.
The Frenchman, who will be visiting the UAE this month as part of the Dubai International Sports Conference, was crowned Uefa’s player of the year in recognition of his efforts in Bayern’s Champions League triumph.
However since the announcement of the original 23-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or, Ronaldo has had a resurgence in form for both club and country.
The Portuguese winger has 25 goals in 18 games for Madrid this season, while he also netted four goals in two games in Portugal’s World Cup playoff victory over Sweden.
Ronaldo’s chances of winning the Ballon d’Or for a second time were buoyed even more by FIFA extending the deadline for votes till November 29, after his World Cup heroics.
The reasons for the extension were apparently due to a low turnout in voting by coachers, players and the meida.
The extension has seen a shift in the favourite for the title, with many now backing the 2008 winner Ronaldo to pip Ribery for the award.
As for Messi, the Barcelona talisman has seen his chances of success hindered by injury pronlems.
Despite scoring 60 goals in 50 games last season, the Argentine is currently out until January and he is absence means that he may struggle to retain the Ballon d’Or.
Elsewhere Ribery’s former Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes is up against ex-Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson and Borussia Dortmund’s Jurgen Kloop in the male coach of the year category.
The awards will be presented on January 13 at a ceremony in Zurich.