Franck Ribery blasts 'purely political' FIFA Ballon d'Or award

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Munich, Jan 24: Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery has blasted the Ballon d'Or process, saying FIFA's top individual award is "purely political."

Ronaldo wins Ballon d'Or

Ribery watched his teammate Manuel Neuer finish third in the ceremony earlier this month, the same spot the Frenchman himself finished a year earlier, reports espnfc.com.

Ronaldo with his Ballon d'Or award this month

In both cases, the Bayern player finished behind winner Cristiano Ronaldo and runner-up Lionel Messi, who have claimed the top two spots in six of the past seven years, the only exception being Andres Iniesta's second place finish in 2010.

Ribery, who retired from international football in 2014, said if Messi and Ronaldo are both up for the award, there's no point in naming a third nominee.

"I don't understand it (award process). For me the prize is purely political. While Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are playing, whoever is nominated third might as well accept they have no chance," Ribery said Friday.

"It has to be asked whether it's worth bothering to go to the gala. For the photos?"

Goalkeeper Neuer won both the World Cup with Germany and Bundesliga with Bayern Munich, and while Ronaldo won the Champions League with Real Madrid, both the Portuguese striker and FC Barcelona's Messi failed to win La Liga.

"What do you have to do to win it?" Ribery asked.

"Neuer won the World Cup, the Bundesliga and he has been the best goalkeeper in the world for the past two or three years and even so none of it matters," the 31-year-old added.

IANS

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