Ballon D'Or 2013: Time, Date and Prediction for Final-3 Announcement

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistDecember 9, 2013

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 16: Lionel Messi of Barcelona FC offers his 4th ballon d'or to the audience prior to the Copa del Rey Quarter Final match between Barcelona FC and Malaga CF at Camp Nou on January 16, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

The next step of this year's Ballon d'Or proceedings is to find out which three superstars will remain in the running for football's most prestigious individual award.

The trio will be announced on Monday, meaning 20 of the names initially shortlisted for the prize will bow out of the race for the 2013 honour.

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - JANUARY 07:  Mascot Fuleco of FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil and Ronaldo during the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2013 at Congress House on January 7, 2013 in Zurich, Switzerland.  (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)
Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

News of the announcement will come on the France Football magazine website as well as on the official website of FIFA, the co-organisers of the award.

Spectators already have a fairly good idea of who will remain in the running, but here are our predictions below.

 

Time: 1 p.m. GMT/2 p.m. CET/8 a.m. ET

Date: Monday, Dec. 9

 

Prediction

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo is pretty much a shoo-in to be announced as a Ballon d'Or finalist, after enjoying what has arguably been his finest calendar year to date.

A stir was caused when FIFA announced that the voting deadline for the award had been extended, per Goal.com, which allowed the Real Madrid maestro's incredible four-goal haul for Portugal in their World Cup playoff against Sweden to be taken into account.

According to Transfermarkt.co.uk, Ronaldo has scored in 11 of his 14 La Liga matches so far this season, netting two goals or more in five of those outings.  

This has helped bring the forward's 2013 goal tally up to 66, which is magnificent even by his own usually lofty standards.

 

Lionel Messi

Injured or not, it's likely that Lionel Messi has done enough to see himself through to Ballon d'Or contention once more in 2013, scoring 42 goals and making 11 assists according to Transfermarkt.co.uk.

While his scoring record isn't quite as impressive as his Madridista counterpart this year, the Argentinian continues to offer a more provisional approach for Barca, serving things up on a plate for those around him as well as finishing chances himself.

Several muscle injuries may see the four-time winner's run finally come to an end, although we shouldn't allow fatigue to obscure the forward's greatness.

Messi has a league title in 2013 that Ronaldo cannot boast, which might count against the Madrid man.

 

Franck Ribery

The reigning European Footballer of the year will once again seek to crash the party by breaking up the duopoly that Ronaldo and Messi have bragged over Ballon d'Or proceedings in recent years.

Jan Aage Fjortoft reports that Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness feels his star is a deserving winner:

Although the Frenchman has garnered new plaudits since winning his European award in August, there may still be some who doubt Ribery's chances when it comes to the genuine, global article this time around.

However, with Bayern at the pinnacle of the sport, the 30-year-old has been a creative genius, making no less than 28 assists in 2013 along with his own supply of 22 goals for club and country.

He has not lost a game in Bayern colours throughout the year and helped the German giants win the Treble last season.