No Surprises in Ballon D’Or Shortlist

By Juan Pablo Aravena
Lionel Messi
Presse Sports-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest award given every year by FIFA finally has its candidates revealed, and there are no surprises on the final list.

Argentinean star Lionel Messi, Portugal icon Cristiano Ronaldo and French winger Franck Ribery have been selected as the three players that will compete to win the Ballon D’Or, the prize that certifies who was the better player throughout the course of 2013 in the soccer world.

The three players clearly have their own merits to be selected as they were part of an initial list that included a total of 23 players that featured the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Luis Suarez and Radamel Falcao.

Messi has won the last four awards, and he will look to continue making history by winning the distinction for a fifth straight time. While the Argentinean didn’t have the same quality year he had on 2012, he was definitively the best player of a Barcelona team that won La Liga and the Spanish Super Cup this year. He has been injured a lot recently, so that might hamper his chances.

Ronaldo and Ribery are perhaps are step behind Messi in terms of popularity and world recognition, but they clearly deserve the award as well. CR7 was instrumental for both Portugal and Real Madrid, and his second semester has been one for the ages. He led his country to a playoff win against Sweden that landed Portugal a spot in the upcoming World Cup. He has been the heart and soul of a Real Madrid team that has taken the Champions League by storm.

Ribery, on the other hand, lived the opposite spectrum of Ronaldo. His second part of the year hasn’t been as good as his first one, where he was the star of a Bayern Munich side that won the Bundesliga, the DFB Pokal, the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Super Cup.

Whoever wins the award will probably have it deserved, but one thing is certain: these three stars have their own merits to come away with the award once everything is said and done.

Juan Pablo Aravena is a sports writer for Follow him on Twitter @jparavenarant or add him to your network on Google

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