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Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Lionel Messi vs. Franck Ribery for 2013 Ballon d'Or

December 9, 2013 -- Updated 1800 GMT (0200 HKT)
Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo is looking to win the award for the second time in his career. The forward is enjoying the most productive year at Real Madrid while he also fired Portugal to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with a hat-trick during their playoff match with Sweden. Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo is looking to win the award for the second time in his career. The forward is enjoying the most productive year at Real Madrid while he also fired Portugal to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with a hat-trick during their playoff match with Sweden.
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Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi
Franck Ribery
Alex Ferguson
Jupp Heynckes
Jurgen Klopp
Abby Wambach
Marta
Nadine Angerer
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery shortlisted for 2013 Ballon d'Or
  • The winner will be announced in Zurich on January 13
  • Alex Ferguson, Jupp Heynckes and Jurgen Klopp up for the coaching accolade
  • Women's winner to come from shortlist of Marta, Abby Wambach and Nadine Angerer

(CNN) -- Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery will battle it out for the FIFA Ballon d'Or, football's most prestigious individual accolade.

Global governing body FIFA whittled down the initial 23-man list to a final shortlist of three players, with the winner set to be announced during the annual Ballon d'Or gala in Zurich on January 13.

Barcelona and Argentina No. 10 Messi is hoping to be crowned the world's leading player for a record fifth year in a row, but he faces stiff competition from Real Madrid's Ronaldo.

Portugal captain Ronaldo is the favorite to clinch the award for the second time in his career, having previously won it as a Manchester United player in 2008, after a year which has seen him outscore Messi while also firing his country to next year's World Cup in Brazil.

France's Ribery was a key player in the Bayern Munich team which won a European Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup treble in 2013.

The World Cup brings 32 nations together to compete in the "beautiful game," and each country's fans are just as boisterous as the last. Click through to see fans from all of the 32 countries that will be competing in next year's soccer tournament in Brazil. Above, an Algeria supporter. The World Cup brings 32 nations together to compete in the "beautiful game," and each country's fans are just as boisterous as the last. Click through to see fans from all of the 32 countries that will be competing in next year's soccer tournament in Brazil. Above, an Algeria supporter.
World Cup: 32 nations and their fans
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Photos: World Cup: 32 nations and their fans Photos: World Cup: 32 nations and their fans
Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina)
CNN rating: Contender
Can anyone dethrone Messi? The Argentine has lifted the prize in each of the last four years and once again starred for Barcelona during the 2012-13 season as they romped to the Spanish title, scoring 46 goals during a victorious La Liga campaign. Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina) CNN rating: Contender Can anyone dethrone Messi? The Argentine has lifted the prize in each of the last four years and once again starred for Barcelona during the 2012-13 season as they romped to the Spanish title, scoring 46 goals during a victorious La Liga campaign.
Lionel Messi
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2013 Ballon d\'Or nominees 2013 Ballon d'Or nominees

FIFA also announced the three men in the running for the coach of the year accolade.

Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson is nominated for guiding the Old Trafford club to a record 20th English championship.

The Scot called time on his glittering 26-year reign at United in May.

Jupp Heynckes also stepped aside at the end of last season after leading Bayern to an historic treble.

The German veteran is nominated alongside Jurgen Klopp, whose Borussia Dortmund team lost to Heynckes' Bayern in the Champions League final but won many admirers with their vibrant, attacking football.

The world's leading female player will also be crowned. Brazilian star Marta is once again nominated for the award having won it five years in a row between 2006 and 2010.

Germany goalkeeper Nadine Angerer saved two penalties in a 1-0 win over Norway in the final of Euro 2013, with American Abby Wambach completing the shortlist after becoming the leading goalscorer in international football history.

Read: 2014 World Cup groups drawn

Read: Wambach breaks goalscoring record

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