Franck Ribery should upset Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to win the UEFA Best Player in Europe award, says our European network.
We asked Eurosport journalists around the continent to pick their winner from the three shortlisted players, and surprisingly Bayern Munich star Ribery got the nod from a majority of countries.
There is increasing buzz that the Frenchman could pull off what would be a stunning upset – a flurry of punts has seen him move ahead of Ronaldo in the betting, just behind the narrow favourite Messi.
Although our own Liam Happe plumped for Messi, our colleagues make a strong case that – for all their exceptional performances – Messi and Ronaldo did not actually win anything in Europe last season.
And there is plenty of logic in picking the best player from the best team – someone who is a magnificent footballer in his own right.
Here’s the Eurosport network’s verdict.
Who should win the UEFA Best Player in Europe award – Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Franck Ribery?
Daniel Rathjen (Germany)
The last season with Bayern Munich was unique and epic - and Franck Ribery was their best player. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are excellent but Messi was eliminated in the Champions League by Bayern with Ribery. And Ronaldo was too unstable with Real. With a great performance, Ribery also was responsible for the decisive moments in the final at Wembley against Dortmund. If you judge only his effort on the pitch there is no reason not to choose Ribery. Now or never.
Maxime Dupuis (France)
It’s not because I’m French but I vote Franck Ribery. He’s not the best player in Europe, not the most gifted, but, among the three, the best player of the year. He won the Champions League and had a really good season, so he deserves it. And as Daniel (and also Elvis Presley) say: It’s now or never.
Jose Manuel Antequera (Spain)
Lionel Messi is still the best player in the world. Barca won La Liga thanks to him and in the Champions League was not decisive because he was injured. Ribery and Cristiano Ronaldo are behind Messi
Liam Happe (UK)
A bit of a cop-out answer from Britain but the Ballon d’Eurosport does not lie. Lionel Messi remains the top player in Europe. Even without Barca dominating Europe, the likes of Bayern and Real would give anything to add Messi to their ranks.
Luca Stacul (Italy)
My answer is Franck Ribery. If we want to give the prizes to the most talented player in the world we’ll always give them to Messi, but I think all these yearly awards should go to the best player on yearly basis. So it’s Ribery, both in the 2012/2013 European season (UEFA best player in Europe) and year 2013 (Ballon d’Or).
Igor Zelenitsyn (Russia)
I was born on June 21st like Michel Platini, so I don't have any other option except voting for Lionel Messi. I have never seen such a player either before or today.
Zeyad Fouad (Arabia)
Franck Ribery is my answer, and it’s not logical to recommend Messi or Ronaldo; they did nothing in Europe. The Spanish league is not a big deal as one of Real Madrid and Barcelona have to win, but to be strong in every competition, as Ribery did, was a real success so he deserves to be recognized as the best.
Frank Ribery 4, Lionel Messi 3, Cristiano Ronaldo 0.