Munich - Seven players from the Bundesliga have made the shortlist for the FIFA Ballon d’Or 2013 award, six of them from FC Bayern München. With competition for the prize as fierce as ever, bundesliga.com outlines the credentials of the candidates from Germany's top flight, starting with Franck Ribery.
Glory on his mind
The FC Bayern winger's rise from a deprived area in Boulogne-sur-Mer to superstardom has been well documented, yet only now is he finally receiving long-overdue acclaim.
Several of Europe's leading clubs tried, and failed, to lure the Frenchman away from Munich following his arrival from Olympique de Marseille in 2007. Now more than settled in his "home away from home", Ribery is delivering the quality he always possessed, and frequently showed, but only now he is producing the goods on a regular basis.
Having left Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in his wake in the vote for UEFA Best Player in Europe, Ribery is aware he is among the favourites to reach global recognition in January: "I'm always thinking about it during games," he exclusively told bundesliga.com. "I know I have to keep playing as well as I can to win it. I want to keep having fun and play without pressure, but obviously I do really want this title."
Emerging triumphant at the gala in Zurich would be a fitting tribute to Ribery's career, which shows no sign of slowing down just yet, considering the Frenchman has emerged as a leading figure for the Bavarians. Ten goals and 16 assists was his an admirable record last season, but when you consider injury restricted the 30-year-old to just 24 starts in 2012/13, his statistics are all the more astonishing.
Ribery may have only found the back of the net once in the Champions League in that campaign, but he provided the crucial assist in the Wembley final to secure Bayern's victory and fifth continental crown. This season he has already chalked up four goals and six assists in 11 Bundesliga appearances to underline his world-beating credentials. Should Ribery take home the Ballon d'Or in the New Year, there would not be many dissenting voices.
The Bundesliga's other men in contention for the Ballon d'Or 2013:
See more of a record-breaker in his own right on the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel: