Zinedine Zidane has tipped compatriot Franck Ribery to beat Cristiano Ronaldo to the 2013 Ballon d’Or award. Following Bayern Munich’s historic Treble last season, the instrumental Ribery is the favorite to take the prize, which has been awarded to Barcelona’s Lionel Messi for the last four years in a row.
Zidane is in the awkward situation of being close to both Ribery, who is his former France teammate, as well as Ronaldo, who is one of his players at Real Madrid. “They both deserve it,” the Real Madrid Sporting Director said. “But I would give it to Franck because he was fundamental in the three trophies that Bayern won last season. The problem is [Ronaldo] has scored 55 goals in a season. Anyway, I do not decide.”
This year’s Ballon d’Or is likely to be as closely contested as ever, with holder Messi expected to be in the running again, as well as his Barcelona teammate Neymar, who put in several commanding performances with Confederations Cup winner Brazil. The award will be handed out at a ceremony in Zurich on January 13, 2014.