The 23-man shortlist for the 2013 Ballon d'Or award was announced on Tuesday morning, ahead of the ceremony on January 13.
Among the usual suspects are Gareth Bale, Mesut Ozil, Eden Hazard and Yaya Toure. While it is nice for these players to be recognised, a 23-man list is ultimately redundant when the 2013 award is likely to be a two-horse race between four-time winner Leo Messi and two-time runner-up Cristiano Ronaldo.
At some point, however, the Messi/Ronaldo Ballon d'Or hegemony must end. And there is a good chance that point is right now.
Here are three players who can also lay a legitimate claim to the vaunted golden orb...