The winner of the 2017 Ballon d'Or might just have been given away

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A series of leaked photos may have given away the winner of the 2017 Ballon d'Or.

The award for the world's best player is set to be announced today - with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo the two favourites as always.

The pair have dominated the most prestigious individual award in football like no one else ever has, swapping it back and forth for nine years.

There once was a time when winning it invited a player into the discussion as the best, highlighting their year as the best in the world. A simpler time, when winning it twice meant you were something truly special and possibly the best of your generation.

Nowadays, of course, only two players get a look in. It's no longer about who is the best at the moment, but who gets the edge in the ever-running argument of who is better between the two.

It wasn't long ago that the three victories each held by Johann Cruyff, Michel Platini, and Marco van Basten looked like records that would stand the test of time - but tonight, either Messi finally doubles their record or Ronaldo joins Messi on the new best of five.

And so the 2017 edition of the award gets announced later today as the duo prepare to complete a decade of dominance over it. The bookies' favourite has been Ronaldo - understandably, too, as he led Real Madrid to a double of La Liga and Champions League - and their instinct may have just been confirmed as correct.

Photos showing off a new pair of Ronaldo-inspired Nike Mercurial Superly V's has almost certainly given the game away after being leaked online, with 'Quinto Triunfo' written down the heel of the boot - a not so subtle reference to a win for Ronaldo tonight.

Ronaldo has had special, limited edition boots made all four previous times he has won the award - and it looks as though the boots will again be available this year.

You can see the incredibly flashy boots here:

It's the biggest hint yet that the Real Madrid star will take his fifth Ballon d'Or, assuming the photos are as legit as they look.

Whatever the result tonight, the dominance of Messi and Ronaldo is set to continue for at least one more year, but the chasing pack will be smelling blood for the first time in a decade now that the two of them are in their 30's.

It's still all about Messi and Ronaldo right now though - for one more year at least.

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La Liga
Ballon d'Or
Lionel Messi
Cristiano Ronaldo

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