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Zidane snubs Ronaldo for Ballon d'Or

ESPN staff
October 11, 2013 « Nadal, Djokovic in to semi-finals | Chartbeat test »
Zinedine Zidane doesn't think Cristiano Ronaldo should win the Ballon d'Or © Getty Images
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Zinedine Zidane says he would choose his former France international teammate Franck Ribery over his current Real Madrid charge Cristiano Ronaldo were he picking the 2013 Ballon d'Or winner.

Ribery is hotly tipped to take the prize given his key role in Bayern Munich's Champions League, Bundesliga and DFB Pokal wins last season, and his continuing impressive performances for the German side under Pep Guardiola this term.

However, Ronaldo is likely to also figure heavily in the judges' thinking considering his huge goal tally during the current calendar year - and Madrid figures including Florentino Perez and Jose Mourinho learned from experience in past years that the forward expected strong backing from his club when individual awards were being decided.

This puts the current Madrid assistant coach in an awkward situation, and Zidane said he was just about leaning towards his fellow Frenchman.

"They both deserve it," Zidane said. "But I would give it to Franck because he was fundamental in the three trophies that Bayern won last season. The problem is there is a kid who has scored 55 goals in a season. Anyway, I do not decide."

This year's award will be as closely contested as ever, with even the shortlists likely to generate controversy. Holder and four-time winner Lionel Messi is also expected to be in the running again, while his new Barcelona teammate Neymar also has a strong case for inclusion given his displays as Brazil won the Confederations Cup in the summer.

A 23-man longlist is expected to be announced by France Football on October 29, with a three-man shortlist then revealed in early December and the prize handed out at a gala ceremony in Zurich on January 13, 2014.

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