FIFA and France Football have officially announced that Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Franck Ribéry are the three finalists competing for this year's Ballon d'Or. The winner of the world's most prestigious individual award will be announced on 13th January in Zurich.
Messi has made the final cut every year since 2007. That year he came third behind Kaká and Cristiano Ronaldo. He was runner-up in 2008, behind CR7. He won the award for the first time in 2009. Since then he has been unstoppable, winning again in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Being a finalist is nothing new to Ronaldo either. He was second in 2007, before winning the award in 2008. Since then, Messi has stood in the way of any further wins. He was second in 2009, 2011 and 2012, but he failed to make the final cut in 2010.
The three finalists have all had very different years. Leo Messi was unplayable between January and April, before an injury in the Champions League marked the start of a series of problems that are still plaguing him today. However, this did not stop him scoring 47 league goals.
Ribéry has been the flagship player of a Bayern side that has won everything, including the Bundesliga and the Champions League.
Cristiano Ronaldo has had an outstanding end to 2013, putting in match-winning performances for both Real Madrid and Portugal.