On Jan. 7, 2013, the Lionel Messi award—I mean the Ballon d'Or—will be announced.
Having already won the prestigious FIFA award three times, Messi is the immediate favorite to separate himself from Michel Platini—who also won the award three times—by becoming the first player to win it four times, according to Yahoo! Sports.
As FIFA.com cites, Messi had a big year in 2012, becoming Barcelona's all-time leading scorer, with 233 goals. He also netted 72 total goals in 2012, which surely only aids him in his quest for his fourth Ballon d'Or award.
"I respect those who believe that Cristiano Ronaldo deserves the Ballon d'Or, but I live with Leo, he is an alien, and Cristiano is the best of the humans."
While Messi's resume makes him the clear-cut favorite, there's still a chance the award can be stolen away from him by a couple of other candidates.
Let's meet them.
Mentioned above, Ronaldo is no stranger to the famous award, as he won the Ballon d'Or in 2008, according to FIFA.com. FIFA also tells us that Ronaldo is the first player in history to score a goal in six consecutive classics, which has to help his chances in the running for the prestigious award.
There's no doubt Ronaldo has earned his way into the conversation for the award, as winning La Liga and helping his team advance to the semifinals of the Euro 2012 only helps his chances of bringing home his second Ballon d'Or.
Regarded as one of the best midfielders in the game, Xavi is one of the greatest at finding space and using it to his advantage, whether it's for scoring goals or dishing off to his teammates while rarely giving up possession.
Known to some as "The Puppet Master," he's no stranger to the competition that comes along with the Ballon d'Or, receiving 16 percent of the vote in the 2010 running, according to UK's Football News.
With Barcelona largely dominating the candidate list, Xavi has a legit shot at winning the award.
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