A look at the Ballon d’Or favourites (Video)

As another year comes to an end, the annual Ballon d’Or award is dished out, and here is a look at those who’ll be in the running.

The obvious favourite is Lionel Messi, whose had an alright year. 73 goals in the 60 games he played during the 2011-12 season represents an average return. Messi also become the first man to score five goals in a Champions league match as well as becoming the all-time leading Barcelona goalscorer. Not bad I suppose. Of course I’m joking; these stats are incomparable with another other player in world football. Barcelona and Messi only won one trophy, which is the only reason why he might not win the individual award.

In any other generation Cristiano Ronaldo would be considered the world’s greatest footballer, unfortunately for him he’s had to compete with the little Argentine genius. In 2012 Ronaldo and Real Madrid dethroned the mighty Barcelona as they won the La Liga title, the first and only time Pep Guardiola didn’t guide the Catalan side to the league crown. 60 goals in the 2011-12 campaign was an incredible achievement, and his overall record for Real Madrid is unbelievable, with 160 goals in 155 games.

Realistically the only man who can challenge these two for the title is Andres Iniesta. A Copa Del Ray was backed up with a European Championship with his country. Granted many Barcelona players equaled this feat, however Iniesta has had a brilliant year. On an individual note he won both the player of the tournament at Euro 2012 as well as the being voted the UEFA Best player in Europe award.

The fourth and fifth favourites are Andrea Pirlo and Iker Casillas who are both at 33/1. Pirlo lead Juve to the Serie A title in unbeaten style. In fact the former AC Milan midfielder is yet to lose a league game for the Old Lady since his move in 2011. Jose Mourinho has backed his goalkeeper Casillas to win the individual award, however it’s unlikely the highest capped Spanish international will win the Ballon d’Or.

It’s hard to look past Messi for the crown, however Iniesta surprisingly beat his Barca team mate to the UEFA best player award, and it wouldn’t be a huge shock it Iniesta or Ronaldo stole Messi’s title.