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

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

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.

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

      Football Focus

    • French football great bids adieu

      After 20 years, more than 300 goals and a host of major honors, Thierry Henry has called time on his glittering football career.
    • Mario's 'Queen' tweet tops 2014 list

      He might be struggling to score goals for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli's cheeky tweet about the British monarch hit the spot during the World Cup.
    • bpr south african soccor senzo meyiwa death _00000402.jpg

      Loss of a South African 'icon'

      Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
    • German alleged jihadist Kreshnik B (R) listens to his lawyer Mutlu Guenal (L) as he arrives at the higher regional court in Frankfurt. His face is pixelated for legal reasons.

      From Jewish football to ISIS suspect

      Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
    • Where has 'Super' Mario gone?

      One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
    • Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.

      Should rapist return to work?

      Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
    • Teen, 15, makes Euro history

      Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.