SportSoccer
FIFA BALLON D'OR GALA

Ronaldo tipped to end Messi's reign as the world's best player

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 January, 2014, 9:52pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 January, 2014, 9:58pm
 

Cristiano Ronaldo is heavily favoured to end Lionel Messi's four-year reign as the world's best player on Monday.

Ronaldo's prolific tally of 69 goals for Real Madrid and Portugal seems likely to earn his second Fifa award after finishing runner-up three times in Messi's dominating era.

Franck Ribery is the third candidate, but the Bayern Munich and France winger needs to score a major upset to add the Fifa accolade to Uefa's Best Player in Europe award, which he collected in August.

Every year I show what I'm about. I've scored 40 or 50 goals a season and that's not enough for everyone
Cristiano Ronaldo

A Ronaldo victory is expected because of Fifa's announcement after the World Cup play-offs in November to extend the voting deadline by two weeks.

That brought his inspiring performance and hat-trick for Portugal in Stockholm, completing a 4-2 aggregate win to eliminate Zlatan Ibrahimvic and Sweden, into the calculations.

"I did my job as I have been doing all season," Ronaldo said following the match. "Every year I show what I'm about. I've scored 40 or 50 goals a season and that's not enough for everyone." Messi, who got 45 goals for Barcelona and Argentina, was unable to further his case after being ruled out of action by a third injury last year.

Fifa also allowed the voting college - national team captains and coaches, plus one journalist, from each of world soccer's 209 member countries - to change preferences and submit new ballot papers.

Voters were invited to select their top three choices from a 23-man shortlist provided by Fifa and France Football magazine.

The adjustment prompted speculation Fifa was seeking to counter speculation in Spain and Portugal that the governing body and its president Sepp Blatter was biased toward Messi and Barcelona.

That long-held conspiracy theory was further fuelled in October when Blatter was filmed telling a student audience in Oxford, England, that he did prefer Messi's more modest personality and that Ronaldo was too concerned about his hairstyle.

His former boss at Old Trafford, Alex Ferguson, is also nominated for the coaching award after retiring with another Premier League title.

Jupp Heynckes, who also retired last May, is favoured to win after leading Bayern to a treble of Champions League, Bundesliga and German cup titles. Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp completes the shortlist.

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