Exposed; Messi wins Ballon’Or 2013

UEFA president, Michel Platini, has said that this year’s Ballon d’Or prize is the toughest, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery all in contention.

Barcelona’s Messi helped his side win La Liga with an incredible goalscoring haul last season, but Ronaldo is currently the hot favourite to win the prize, after sizzling displays for Real Madrid and Portugal. Ribery was one of Bayern Munich’s leading lights, as they landed the treble last season.

“It seems that the favourites are Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ribery,” he told AS. “The first two are very good and Ribery is the one who has won everything.

“They are three great players. The choice of the Ballon d’Or this year is the most difficult in the history of the trophy.

“The voting extension was a Fifa decision, though it happened to coincide with Portugal reaching the World Cup thanks to three goals from Ronaldo against Sweden.

He added, laughing: “It may be that Fifa has done it to please Cristiano…”

Platini was also bemused that a Spaniard did not win the Ballon d’Or, after the country won the 2010 World Cup, with Messi taking home the prize.

“I do wonder about why [a Spain player didn’t win],” the Frenchman added. “I agree that, in 2010, the Ballon d’Or winner should have been Spanish.

“Andres Iniesta, Xavi… For me, one of them deserved it. Messi won it and he is a great champion. But in 2010, for me, it had to be a player from Spain that lifted the trophy.”

The Ballon d’Or winner will be announced on January 13.

The Ballon d’Or award ceremony takes place on January 13, with voting having closed on November 29 after a two-week extension from the original date

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