Ballon d'Or 2013: Can anyone dethrone Lionel Messi?
October 30, 2013 -- Updated 1016 GMT (1816 HKT)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina)
CNN rating: Contender
Can anyone dethrone Messi? The Argentine has lifted the prize in each of the last four years and once again starred for Barcelona during the 2012-13 season as they romped to the Spanish title, scoring 46 goals during a victorious La Liga campaign.
Robin van Persie
- FIFA unveils the 23-man shortlist for the 2013 Ballon d'Or
- Barcelona's Lionel Messi has won the award in each of the last four years
- Real Madrid Cristiano Ronaldo joins Messi on the 2013 shortlist
- Six players from European champions Bayern Munich are also nominated
(CNN) -- Time for a change?
For the last four years, Lionel Messi has been unrivaled as the world's finest footballer.
On Tuesday the sport's global governing body FIFA and France Football unveiled the nominees for the 2013 Ballon d'Or, the award handed to the year's best player, and once again Barcelona star Messi heads up the list.
The Argentine is joined on the 23-man shortlist by Cristiano Ronaldo, the Real Madrid goalscorer widely accepted as the one player who can challenge Messi's supremacy.
But after Bayern Munich's stellar 2012-13 season, Messi and Ronaldo face a raft of challengers from the reigning European and German champions.
The most valuable sports teams
Read: Five reasons why Roma are Europe's best
Attacking talents Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller are joined on the list of nominees by Bayern teammates Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Can one of Bayern's legion of top talents clinch football's highest individual accolade? Will Ronaldo wear the crown for the second time in his career? Or will Messi reign supreme for a fifth year in row?
Ahead of the announcement of the 2013 FIFA Ballon d'Or winner in January, CNN anchor Amanda Davies picks out the contenders, the long shots and those on this year's list who have no chance of seeing their name up in lights.
Do you agree with our ratings? Let us know by tweeting the @CNNFC account.
Part of complete coverage on
Be part of CNN's coverage of European Champions League matches and join the social debate.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
The dreams of 32 footballing nations can begin at Friday's 2014 World Cup draw. It will be more complicated than most -- so click here for the lowdown.
CNN's Alex Thomas takes a brave punt on the 2014 champion ahead of Friday's World Cup draw.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1835 GMT (0235 HKT)
Pele has backed Brazil to deliver a "fantastic" World Cup amid growing fears the country will not be ready in time to host football's showpiece event.
December 4, 2013 -- Updated 1500 GMT (2300 HKT)
Adidas unveils official match ball, the Brazuca, and CEO Herbert Hainer discusses the tech behind it.
November 29, 2013 -- Updated 2209 GMT (0609 HKT)
Zahir Belounis contemplated suicide as he was stuck in Qatar for two years. But the footballer says it still deserves to host the 2022 World Cup.
November 29, 2013 -- Updated 1708 GMT (0108 HKT)
As he celebrates his 40th birthday, just what is the secret to Ryan Giggs' longevity?
Two Belgian "brain coaches" are helping transform AC Milan from big-spender to developer of young talent, says CNN's John Sinnott.
October 22, 2013 -- Updated 1457 GMT (2257 HKT)
Shootings, attempted assassinations and intimidation - welcome to Libyan football in 2013.
October 18, 2013 -- Updated 1129 GMT (1929 HKT)
Zahir Belounis' limbo existence is almost at an end. After a two-year nightmare, he has been told he will finally receive his Qatari exit visa.
October 10, 2013 -- Updated 1101 GMT (1901 HKT)
France's multicultural stars shone brightest at the World Cup 15 years ago -- now could it be Belgium's turn to do the same in Brazil next year?
Adnan Januzaj and Diego Costa have highlighted a major dilemma for international football, says CNN's John Sinnott.
CNN's Alex Thomas reports from FIFA HQ after the ruling body delayed its decision on the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
FIFA's credibility rides on finding a solution to the Qatar World Cup controversy, says CNN's Ben Wyatt.
October 2, 2013 -- Updated 1534 GMT (2334 HKT)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic may have cost Paris Saint-Germain $30 million, but you can get your own chunk of the Swedish striker for just $41.
Today's five most popular stories