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Ronaldo set to top Messi as world's best player

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 11, 2014 at 11:21 pm •  Published: January 11, 2014

Cristiano Ronaldo is heavily favored to end Lionel Messi's four-year reign as the world's best player at the FIFA Ballon d'Or gala on Monday.

Ronaldo's prolific tally of 69 goals for Real Madrid and Portugal in 2013 seems likely to earn his second FIFA award after finishing runner-up three times in Messi's dominating era. Ronaldo won five years ago as a Manchester United player.

Franck Ribery is the third candidate, but the Bayern Munich and France winger needs an upset to add the FIFA accolade to the UEFA Best Player in Europe award he collected in August.

FIFA announced in November an extension of the voting deadline beyond the World Cup playoffs, while voters can switch preferences.

That brought Ronaldo's inspiring performance and decisive hat-trick against Sweden into the calculations.