Ballon d'Or: Top five favourites to win

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The footballing world was awash with frantic excitement yesterday as the contenders for the highly-prestigious Ballon d'Or award were finally announced.

The prize, which is annually awarded to the player considered to have impressed most during the previous year, is a coveted honour that is ultimately traditionally decided by votes from captains and managers from international teams as well as prominent journalists.

Although Barcelona star Lionel Messi has dominated in this particular area in recent years, this time the competition could be far fiercer with a number of the game's top stars considered to have a real chance of unseating the Argentine sensation.

Here, GMS picks the five players most likely to win the award and ranks them in order of just who deserves to win it most.

Feel free to comment on our selections below. Is there anyone in the 23-man shortlist you feel that we have overlooked? Who do you consider to be the top five favourites to scoop the award?

View the 23-man shortlist here and then click on to see who we think is in with the best chance...

Franck Ribery
Lionel Messi
Cristiano Ronaldo
Robin Van Persie
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