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.
Some of the biggest names in football lined up for a charity match, but CNN's Tom McGowan wonders if they can help beat poverty.
March 4, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
"Everyone is scared about war -- they are very nervous," former Ukraine football star Oleg Luzhny says of the rising tensions with Russia.
After a miserable Champions League defeat to Olympiakos, CNN's John Sinnott wonders if Manchester United is officially in trouble.
February 26, 2014 -- Updated 1807 GMT (0207 HKT)
Bayern Munich's present success rests on one key decision, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge tells CNN.
February 18, 2014 -- Updated 0922 GMT (1722 HKT)
"More than a Club." It is an image Barcelona has carefully cultivated, but could the controversial deal to sign Neymar sour that view?
CNN's David Ford analyzes the changing face of Manchester City since Barcelona's last visit to the English club 11 years ago.
February 1, 2014 -- Updated 1825 GMT (0225 HKT)
Affectionately known as "the wise man of Hortaleza," Luis Aragones -- who died aged 75 -- left the legacy of helping Spain's ascension to the top.
January 23, 2014 -- Updated 2118 GMT (0518 HKT)
Real Madrid hasn't won the European Champions League in over a decade, but the Spanish club is invincible in one field -- making money.
January 16, 2014 -- Updated 1449 GMT (2249 HKT)
A ruling that Polish fans will not face legal action after anti-Semitic chanting sparks debate over whether it signals acceptance of such attacks.
The naming of the world's best footballer is not all that it seems, says CNN's James Masters.
If FIFA really cared about gay rights, why did it give the World Cup to a country where homosexuality is illegal, asks CNN's James Masters.
CNN's Alex Thomas takes a brave punt on the 2014 champion ahead of Friday's World Cup draw.
Today's five most popular stories