Barcelona's soccer player Lionel Messi poses with his four Ballon d'Or (Golden Ball) trophies before their Spanish King's Cup soccer match against Malaga at Nou Camp Stadium in Barcelona January 16, 2013. (Photo : REUTERS/ Albert Gea (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY))
Has Lionel Messi won his fifth straight Ballon d'Or? According to one report, the Argentine edged out Cristiano Ronaldo and Franck Ribery for the award.
Barca Blaugranes reports that the result was leaked by @AgenciaNews and claimed that Ronaldo finished second and Ribery third in the voting; Andres Iniesta reportedly finished fourth while Zlatan Ibrahimovic was selected for the fifth place spot. The website cautions readers against taking the rumor too seriously, but also lists the credentials of the source of the breaking news.
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@AgenciaNews reportedly broke news about the voting extension before many other sources and also predicted the top five in last year's Ballon d'Or. Furthermore, the accounted revealed Eric Abidal's move to Monte Carlo 48 hours before it was officially announced by AS Monaco.
Many believed that the voting extension from a few weeks ago would help Cristiano Ronaldo who is having a tremendous finish to 2013 with 17 goals to start the 2013-14 season. He also scored a decisive hat trick in the World Cup playoffs against Sweden; he totaled four goals over two legs. Messi has only scored eight goals for Barcelona in the Spanish League to start 2013-14 and has been riddled with a number of injuries throughout 2013.
Ribery is also viewed as a viable candidate after helping Bayern Munich to a stellar three trophies in 2012-13. The Frenchman was also vital to helping France qualify for the 2014 World Cup next summer.
Iniesta has not figured into the conversations due to Barcelona and Spain's poor 2013 while Ibrahimovic's chances were impaired when Ronaldo outplayed him in the World Cup playoffs a few weeks ago.