Cristiano Ronaldo has been named on the shortlist of three players for the Ballon d’Or award.
With there having been little down as to the identity of the final three on the list, comes as no surprise that the Real Madrid man is joined by Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery, and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.
Many pundits are expecting the award to be a contest between Ronaldo and Ribery, with four time winner Messi considered the least likely of the three to win it this year because he is out injured until the New Year.
Ribery had an outstanding season with the Bavarian giants, helping them to a historic treble of the Bundesliga, Champions League and German Cup. On the international stage, he also helped France reach the World Cup finals in Brazil next summer, with Les Bleus becoming the first European team to overturn a 2-0 deficit to defeat Ukraine and book themselves a place in the tournament.
Ronaldo, who won the Ballon d’Or in 2008, has taken goalscoring records to new levels this calendar year. He had netted a remarkable 60 times for club and country this year – and his outstanding form led to the Los Blancos fans wearing masks bearing his face during the recent Chanpions League game against Galatasaray as their way of calling for him to be recognised by FIFA. The 28-year-old also scored a remarkable hat trick to ensure Portugal qualified for the World Cup by defeating Sweden 4-2 overall in the playoffs.