Franck Ribery confident Ballon d’Or is in the bag

French midfielder says he ‘made the difference’ all year long and ‘set defences on fire’

 Franck Ribery celebrates with French supporters after their 2014 World Cup  play-off win over  Ukraine at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis last week. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

Franck Ribery celebrates with French supporters after their 2014 World Cup play-off win over Ukraine at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis last week. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

Mon, Nov 25, 2013, 15:21

Franck Ribery is confident of winning the World Player of the Year award because he “made the difference” and “set defences on fire”.

The Bayern Munich midfielder played key role in the German side’s march to an unprecedented Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup treble last season, but is facing stiff competition from 2008 winner Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid and Portugal.

“I have no fear, I am confident. I have done all I had to,” the Bayern Munich and France winger told French daily Le Monde in an interview on Monday. “If you look at my performances all year long, I have made the difference. I may not score in every match but I set the defences on fire.”

The 30-year-old was crowned Uefa’s Best Player in Europe in August and was favourite for Fifa’s Ballon d’Or award until Ronaldo’s remarkable year culminated in a hat-trick in the second leg of a World Cup play-off against Sweden last week.

“So far this year, I have never failed,” added Ribery. “I have been good during the whole year with my national team and my club. What we did with Bayern last season was historic.” Ribery also helped France to qualify for next year’s World Cup with a play-off win over Ukraine.

Asked if he feared competition from Ronaldo after the forward scored all Portugal’s goals in their 4-2 aggregate win over Sweden, Ribery said: “Not at all, honestly.

“Ronaldo certainly scores goals, but I do too. He certainly scores more than I do, but we don’t have the same style.”

Fifa will announce a three-man shortlist from the candidates, who also include four-times winner Lionel Messi, Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta and Ronaldo’s Real Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale, early next month.

The winner will be announced on January 13th.

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