Messi, Ronaldo, Ribery finalists for Ballon d’Or trophy
Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery are the finalists for the Ballon d’Or, given to the world’s top soccer player, FIFA announced on Monday.
FIFA gave voters (national team captains and coaches and selected journalists) two extra weeks to whittle 23 candidates down to three finalists.
Ronaldo benefited most from the extra time, as his hat trick in Portugal’s 3-2 win over Sweden on Nov. 19 gave him 67 goals for Portugal and Real Madrid in 2013.
Messi, who scored 45 goals for Argentina and Barcelona before injuring his hamstring, has won the last four player of the year trophies, with Ronaldo finishing second the last two years. Messi is the only player to win the award four times.
Ribery won the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award after leading Bayern Munich to the Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup titles last season. Not surprisingly, Messi finished second and Ronaldo was third.
The nominees for coach of the year and best goal can be seen here.
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) December 9, 2013