Ex-England international Michael Owen believes it will be difficult for Bayern Munich and France winger Franck Ribery to surpass Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the upcoming Ballon d'Or award voting, reports Goal.com.

Ribery has been favourably tipped to win the individual award, following his outstanding performance during Bayern's historic treble achievement last season.

But Owen - who retired at Stoke City in the summer - feels the award is still likely to go to one of Messi or Ronaldo because they remain players who sit top of this generation's world of football. 

“There are so many good players, but the two players who always come to the top of your list are Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo," said the 33-year-old in an interview with Fifa’s official website.

“In my opinion they are by far the best two players in the world right now.

“Then there are some other players who have had some great success with their teams; Bayern Munich obviously spring to mind as one of the most successful teams over the last year, winning the Champions League and domestically winning the league and cup.

“So players like Franck Ribery are in with a shout, but I certainly think Messi and Ronaldo are the best two players. They've consistently been very good and I would think it will be one of those two.”

Perhaps, if Ribery should emerge as the winner of this award, it may imply the progressive move of the "god of soccer" to German football since Borussia Dortmund and Bayern outplayed both Real Madrid and Barcelona last season. 

Nevertheless, as the end justifies, this year’s Ballon d’Or winner will be announced on January 13, following the release of the final 23-man shortlist - which includes Messi, Ribery and Ronaldo.

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