Ballon d'Or the talk of the town
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“He’s a good guy. He deserves to be rewarded with the Ballon d’Or: he’s had his best-ever season and won the lot with Bayern Munich. Football is a team game, but you have to admit that he’s played a decisive role in every match.”
German tennis legend Boris Becker champions Franck Ribery’s claim

“All things being equal, the trophy should definitely go to Franck Ribery. In my opinion, he’s the clear winner. […] For me, the winner should be first and foremost the player who does the most to help his team to win. It’s the same in the NBA: the best player of the season should be part of the best team and in 2013, the most dominant team in Europe was Bayern Munich.”
French NBA star Nicolas Batum, of the Portland Trail Blazers

“If I had to vote, I’d give it to Cristiano Ronaldo. He’s a player who always gives his all.”
The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy

“Messi has had a lot of injuries over the past year, which is why I think Cristiano should win the Ballon d’Or.”
Argentina legend Diego Armando Maradona

"They are all great players, huge names and top athletes. I’d find it a tall order to choose just one of them because they’re all fantastic players.”
Greece and Olympiacos forward Kostas Mitroglou

"Franck Ribery is my favourite. If he doesn’t win it this time around, he never will. He’s won practically everything there is to win with his club. He recently picked up the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award and he’s still in great form. In my opinion it should definitely go to Ribery.”
Monaco midfielder Jeremy Toulalan

“Cristiano and Messi are very good players, while Ribery has won the lot. They are three great players and this is the toughest Ballon d’Or to call in the history of the trophy.”
UEFA President and former France player Michel Platini

“You can never rule out Lionel [Messi]. A lot of people vote for the prize; he’s won it four times and is hugely popular all around the world. I’d laugh a lot if he won it.”
Barcelona and Spain defender Gerard Pique

“If the Ballon d’Or comes, I have room for it.”
Cristiano Ronaldo during the official opening of his museum in his native Madeira

"I voted for the Spanish players because they haven’t had as much recognition as they’ve deserved over the last few years and I didn’t want to get involved in a Real Madrid-Barcelona war – it’s as simple as that.”
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque lifts the lid on his 2013 Ballon d’Or picks

"My wife has already prepared a place for it above the fireplace in the living room. I try not to think about it too much, but she really believes [it’s my year].”
2013 Ballon d’Or finalist Franck Ribery talks to L’Equipe about his chances of scooping the award