2013 is nearly up and this means the most prestigious individual award out there will be decided soon, the Ballon d'Or.

The past four prizes have all been won by one player and Lionel Messi is a hot favourite to win for a record five successive times this year.

However it is not as certain as it has been in the previous years, Messi has had a number of injuries which have damaged his chances and not to forgot the stunning form of Cristiano Ronaldo and Frank Ribery - who both also have a very good chance of winning.

There could even be another winner, an outsider that the bookies haven't backed, as you never know with FIFA.

Quite possibly Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has been so instrumental since joining PSG,  has shown that wherever he goes he scores goals. 

Robert Lewandoski definitely has a shot after helping his team reach the Champions League final as does Bastian Schweinsteiger who helped his Bayern side to the Treble.

All 23 men could win the award and it's as close as ever but it will realistically come down to the three favourites: Messi, Ronaldo and Ribery.

1. Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich/France)

Bayern Munich had their best season in years last year winning the Treble including beating Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund on the way to winning the Champions League.

Ribery was a vital part of that Bayern team and although he didn't score as many goals as his competition, no one would argue if he walked away with the Ballon d'Or.

The only stumbling block he faces is that although his team did incredibly well, his individual stats do not match up to that of Messi and Ronaldo.

He also did walk away with the UEFA Best Player in Europe award - last year Andres Iniesta scooped the award, but lost the main prize to Messi.

2. Lionel Messi ( Barcelona/Argentina)

Messi once again had a stormer of a season, the driving force behind Barcelona winning another La Liga title and helping Argentina qualify for the World Cup in Brazil.

Messi is still regarded as the best player in the world by many and his goal record this year does not argue that point.

He has won the previous four awards and his chances of winning five in a row are high but this year he has arguably got his toughest competition with Ronaldo's incredible goalscoring record and Ribery winning the Treble.

3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid/Portugal)

Ronaldo's goal record speaks for itself and he has broken the record of Champions League goals in a calender year, helping himself to 14 in 2013. Ronaldo has been in Messi's shadow the past few years - very unfairly I might add - and now he may finally take the prize for himself. Wouldn't he deserve it?

His problem would be that his teams haven't done as well as would have hoped as Madrid won nothing last year and Portugal have not yet qualified for the World Cup.

The winner of the Ballon d'Or can safely say they are the best player in the world. All 23 men would love to be able to say that but only one can.

Whether it's Ronaldo, Messi, Ribery or someone else, just think how lucky we are to be able to watch such good players.

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