Cristiano Ronaldo leads the way in final-three Ballon d'Or shortlist

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Football News

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery have been named as the three finalists for the 2013 BAllon d'Or.

The three stars will fight it out for the prestigious award, which will be handed out at a ceremony in Zurich on January 14.

Real Madrid star Ronaldo is the favourite to finally end Messi's run of four-straight wins, ahead of Ribery who enjoyed a hugely successful season with Bayern Munich, who won four trophies including the Champions League in 2012/13.

Messi, who helped Barcelona beat Real Madrid to the league title in Spain, has enjoyed a successful 2013 but has been hampered by injury over the past few months.

FIFA initially named a 23-man list of nominees for the award back in October.

The likes of Gareth Bale, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Neymar, Radamel Falcao and Luis Suarez were all on the initial list, but have failed to make the final three.

This year's award has been shrouded in controversy after FIFA President Sepp Blatter seemed to mock Ronaldo and show a preference for Messi during a talk at the Oxford Students' Union.

It has been suggested Ronaldo, who claimed his first Ballon d'Or while he was still with Manchester United back in 2008 and hit back at Blatter on Facebook, may even boycott the ceremony.

Eyebrows were also raised after FIFA re-opened the voting after Ronaldo had fired Portugal to the World Cup with a hat-trick in his country's play-off win over Sweden. FIFA say voting was re-opened because they had not received a large number of replies by those allowed to vote.

FIFA have also announced the final three candidates for the FIFA Puskas Award for the goal of the year, and the final three for the coach of the year.

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Cristiano Ronaldo
Franck Ribery
Lionel Messi

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