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Messi just has two to beat . . .

The striking trio of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Franck Ribery will fight it out for the title of the world's best footballer after FIFA announced its shortlist for the 2013 Ballon d'Or.

Argentina and Barcelona's Messi has won the award in each of the last four years, while Portugal and Real Madrid's Ronaldo won the award in 2008. France forward Ribery has had a sparkling year for treble-winners Bayern Munich.

Gareth Bale did not make the cut from the 23-man longlist despite scoring 26 goals for Tottenham Hotspur last term before becoming the world's most expensive player when he joined Real Madrid for £85.3m in September. The winner will be revealed at the FIFA Ballon d'Or gala in Zurich on January 13, 2014.

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