The Ballon d’Or Finalists 2013: Who Will Take Home the Trophy?

The FIFA player of the year award is around the corner. The three players that have been named to the shortlist comes to us with no surprise. Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Franck Ribery. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo make a regular appearance to the final, but Franck Ribery is new to the scene. The previous four award finalists have consisted of Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Messi. Franck Ribery breaks the trend of an all La Liga players in the final. Let’s take a look at their 2012-2013 campaigns, and talk about why these three players deserve a place in the final.

Lionel Messi

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We all know the story of Messi and the player of the year award. Messi has won the award four times in a row. No other player in the history of football has ever accomplished this. Even after holding that record, he can make more history later this year by trying to win it a 5th time. Lionel had a great 2012-2013. He finished as the La Liga top scorer, and won the golden boot for top scorer in all European leagues. This is Lionel Messi’s second golden boot. His Barcelona squad won the Spanish league, beating out defending champions Real Madrid. Messi finished the year with 46 goals in 32 games in La Liga, he scored eight goals in the Champions League, and netted four in the domestic cup. We all know Messi scores goals at a rate that no one has ever seen, so it would not feel right if he was not named as a finalist. Can he finally be dethroned? We will have to wait and see.

Cristiano Ronaldo

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Having a “best player in the world competition” would not be interested if the Portuguese winger was not involved. Cristiano Ronaldo makes another short list final appearance for the player of the year award. The past 5 years the golden ball has been won four times by Messi, and only once by Ronaldo. Ronaldo will be looking to break Messi’s dominance of the award. His performance throughout the season gives him a legitimate chance of taking home his second golden ball home.  Ronaldo joins the list by scoring goals as well. He scored 34 goals in 34 La Liga matches, 12 goals in 12 Champions League matches, and seven goals in seven Copa Del Rey matches. Talk about consistency. Many football fans love to watch the Ronaldo vs. Messi showdown. The best player in the world discussion is continuously surrounding these two.

Franck Ribery

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The newcomer to the short list is the French winger for Bayern Munich. Franck makes his way into the short list by playing at a top level for the top club in Europe all of the 2012-2013 season. Bayern Munich won the Bundesliga with no problems from their rival Borussia Dortmund, they won their domestic cup, and topped it all off with a Champions League trophy. Who has been the most consistent player on the Bavarian side? Ribery. Ribery does not have eye popping scoring numbers like Messi and Ronaldo, but his play does not show up in the stat sheet. Sure he did score more than 10 goals in all competition, but he was the assist leader in the Bundesliga. His club is the first German side to ever win a treble and dominate their opponents domestically and abroad.

Conclusion

These three men have shown the world why they are called the top three players in the world. They had great years and their teams benefited from it.  They are the example of what a great footballer is. Messi scoring goals like it’s child play, Ronaldo making defenders look silly as he dribbles past them, and Franck Ribery getting his whole team involved and making the Bavarians the most lethal team in Europe. You can say some other players like Robin Van Persie or Gareth Bale deserved to be on this list, but these three players excelled in all competitions.

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