When Franck Ribery strode up to the podium in Monaco to collect the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award there was something strangely refreshing about the situation.

In a footballing world dominated by Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo it would be foolish to undermine Ribery's accomplishment in prizing a personal award out of the two phenomenon's grasp.

The French winger won it all with Bayern Munich last year, the Bavarians stormed their way to the Bundesliga title and DFB-Pokal (equivalent of the English FA Cup) whilst triumphing in the Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund.

And, if the performance of Bayern in last night's Champions League tie against Manchester City is anything to go by, then you would not bet against them repeating such a feat this time out.

Ribery's performance typified what Munich were all about - hard work, vision, control, mesmerising skill and accuracy.

Whilst the Frenchman, who has 76 international caps, might not have the machine like scoring form of Ronaldo or Messi, Ribery has become a vital cog in the Bayern trophy winning machine.

Come the Ballon d'Or announcement in January it would come as no surprise to see Messi standing on the podium and speaking down the microphone in an odd jacket accepting the award for the fifth time.

There is no doubting the quality of Ronaldo and Messi they will go down as some of the greatest players to ever play the game - if not the best.

Whether Ribery deserves to win or not is up for debate. The award is to decide 'who is the best player in the world' how do you judge that?

Surely, football should come down to trophies after all that is what every footballer craves and fan pines for, but the example of Wesley Sneijder in 2010 would perhaps suggest different.

The Dutch playmaker accomplished the equivalent to what Ribery did last year and also proved vital in the Netherlands route to the final of 2010 World Cup in South Africa - but even he was overlooked, in favour of Messi.

Ribery is no longer the selfish winger he was three or four years ago, he has become selfless and the apex of Bayern's attack which has proved deadly under former boss Jupp Hynckes and now Pep Guardiola.

It seems unlikely that the 30-year-old's efforts will be rewarded come January, but wouldn't it make a refreshing change if they were.

Let me know if you think Ribery should pick up the Ballon d'Or below.

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