European champions Bayern Munich boast six players in the 23-man shortlist for the 2013 Ballon d'Or, but who will walk away with the prize?
Name: Franck Ribery
Teams: Bayern Munich & France
Ballon d'Or odds: 2.10
The French winger has had the best season of his career, becoming the most consistent player within the world's best club team. Ribery has had a year comparable with Messi and Ronaldo, yet doesn't play as a striker like his two Ballon d'Or rivals. From the wing, Ribery contributed 13 goals and 23 assists last season, and has already registered 10 goals in 14 appearances this term. Ribery may never get a better chance to win the award, and is our favourite to clinch it.
Name: Lionel Messi
Teams: Barcelona & Argentina
Can Messi make it an unpresecented five titles in a row? He is certainly in with a great shout of pulling it off after another stellar year that has seen him score 35 times already. Niggling injuries saw him limited to 47 appearances during the 2012/13 season (he managed 60 and 54 in the previous two seasons) yet he still struck a staggering 75 goals and 18 assists. He's a wonderful player whose widespread appeal still makes him the man to beat.
Name: Cristiano Ronaldo
Teams: Real Madrid & Portugal
Having finished second to Messi three times, Ronaldo must be getting sick of the Ballon d'Or ceremony. This year could see him slip even further down the podium if Ribery challenges the top two spots. But that's not to say Ronaldo hasn't had a great year - he undeniably has. 62 goals and 14 assists last season (as this Ronaldo vs Messi infographic shows) is not a bad return and he remains Real Madrid's chief match-winner. But has the one-time winner done enough to scoop the award for the first time since 2008?
Name: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Teams: Paris Saint-Germain & Sweden
Like a fine wine, Ibrahimovic seems to get better with age. There appears to be no end to his stunning goals and match-winning performances for Paris Saint-Germain, and even the arrival of another Ballon d'Or nominee, Edinson Cavani, hasn't stopped Zlatan being the main man at the Parc des Princes. But does the relative weakness of the French league take something away from the big Swede? Despite that, Zlatan has had yet another brilliant year in another title-winning team.
Teams: Santos/Barcelona & Brazil
It would be a huge statement if the voters - made up of top coaches, captains and journalists - handed Neymar this award. Especially given that he spent half the year playing at Santos and has only just started finding his feet at Barcelona. But a well-taken goal in his first Clasico will do his chances no harm, and neither will his superb displays for Brazil in the summer's Confederations Cup. Neymar's time will come - maybe even next year if he continues to inspire the national team - but 2013 is perhaps a little too early for this superstar in the making.
Name: Gareth Bale
Teams: Tottenham, Real Madrid & Wales
While Bale has endured a mixed start to life at Real Madrid, it's worth remembering what the world's most expensive player achieved at Tottenham up until a few short months ago. Blistering pace, spectacular goals and brilliant displays of strength and skill marked him out as the Premier League's standout performer, as voted for by England's players and writers. But will his largely unconvincing start to life in Spain count against him?
The other candidates from FIFA's 23-man shortlist:
Andres Iniesta (Barcelona & Spain) - 25.00
Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid, Monaco & Colombia) - 25.00
Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich & Germany) - 40.00
Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich & Netherlands) - 40.00
Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich & Germany) - 45.00
Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid, Arsenal & Germany) - 50.00
Robin van Persie (Manchester United & Netherlands) - 50.00
Philippe Lahm (Bayern Munich & Germany) - 50.00
Luis Suarez (Liverpool & Uruguay) - 50.00
Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund & Poland) - 75.00
Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona & Spain) - 100.00
Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich & Germany) - 100.00
Edinson Cavani (Napoli, Paris Saint-Germain & Uruguay) - 100.00
Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain & Brazil) - 100.00
Andrea Pirlo (Juventus & Italy) - 150.00
Yaya Toure (Manchester City & Ivory Coast) - 150.00
Eden Hazard (Chelsea & Belgium) - 200.00