Who’s the Greatest Footballer in the World?

Messi, Ronaldo and Iniesta are all competing for the coveted FIFA Ballon d'Or award.

Paul Tamburroby Paul Tamburro

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta are all competing for the coveted FIFA Ballon d'Or, an award given to the best player of the year. 

Barcelona's Messi is currently the favourite to pick up the trophy, as he looks set to beat Gerd Muller's 1972 record for the number of goals scored in a calendar year, having currently put 82 in the back of the net compared with Muller's 85. Messi also recently surpassed the second-best record of 75 goals, held by none other than Pele. 

Closely behind him in the goal-scoring stakes is Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, who picked up 60 goals last season and also propelled his club to a La Liga victory, edging out rivals Barcelona to claim Spain's most important footballing trophy.

Also in contention for the Ballon d'Or is Messi's Barcelona teammate Andres Iniesta, who was named player of the tournament at Euro 2012 as he led Spain to a stunning victory against Italy in the final.

Argentinian Messi, Portuguese Ronaldo and Spaniard Inesta all play in La Liga, which led FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke to comment on the high quality of football played in Spain. "It shows how strong football in Spain is", said Valcke. "We have seen again what they did at the Euros and it will be interesting to see what happens in the Confederations Cup."

The winner of the award will be announced on January 7th, 2013.

Photo: Getty Images