A crucial cog in the Die Roten side that won the first treble by a German club last season in scorching style, the mere fact that Ribery has been touted as a serious challenger to the award’s hegemony of late speaks volumes about his influence.
Seemingly he has sprung out even in front of Messi, who has frustrated Ronaldo on four successive occasions in being declared the world’s finest player, as the Argentine has been struck by injury and been outdone by the Real Madrid man on the scoresheet.
And Franz Beckenbauer, himself a legend of Germany’s most heralded outfit and twice a winner of the Ballon d’Or, thinks Ribery has done everything required of him to snap up the prize, but sees Ronaldo as the favourite.
"Normally Ribery would have to win this time but nothing is normal in these votes," the 68-year-old told Sky Germany.
"Ronaldo has put everything in one basket, he has all the ambition and characteristics to win the Ballon d'Or.
“Although Ribery has been the best throughout the year, it would not surprise me if in the end Ronaldo wins it."
Much of the debate on whether Ribery or his Portuguese counterpart deserves the honour centers around individual versus team achievements, with the Bayern Munich man the clear frontrunner based on the latter, even withstanding Ronaldo’s brilliant performance against Sweden to send his country to the World Cup.
But in light of personal glory, the France international is unable to match the ex-Manchester United man, who stands head and shoulders above Ribery’s 18 goals across all competitive club and international fixtures in 2013 with an unbelievable haul of 60.
The winner may in turn signal an expression by voters of what is considered the priority for naming the world’s top player – succeeding on one’s own or working as a crucial component of a prolific side.
Beckenbauer certainly hopes the second option is chosen, the one that would indeed see an outsider break the dominance of two players that haven’t been graced with the Ballon d’Or since Kaka was the recipient back in 2007 for Milan.
Yet if Ronaldo has anything to say about it, this side of Zlatan Ibrahimovic of course, it will be he who returns to the podium after four straight years of watching Messi sit at the head of the class.
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