Netzer: Ribery can win the Ballon d'Or

The Borussia Monchengladbach legend backs the France winger to go on to be named world’s top player in 2013 after he claimed the Uefa Best Player in Europe award on Thursday

Gunter Netzer says Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery has the talent to win the Ballon d’Or this year.

Ribery was crowned Uefa’s Best Player in Europe in a ceremony at Monte Carlo on Thursday, beating Lionel Messi into second place with Cristiano Ronaldo in third.

The 30-year-old was a key element in Bayern’s Champions League, Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal successes last season and Netzer insisted that there was no one more worthy of claiming the Uefa award.

“I was very pleased personally that Franck Ribery was voted European Footballer of the Year,” the 68-year-old German wrote in his column for Bild.

“He has earned this award like no other because he was the outstanding player of the past 12 months and better than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.”

The Uefa Best Player in Europe award has now run for three seasons with Messi taking the prize in 2011 and his Barcelona team-mate Andres Iniesta winning in 2012.

However, Netzer now believes that Ribery can go on to claim yet a greater accolade – the Ballon d’Or – which Messi has won for the last four years.

“He [Ribery] crowned his strong season by winning the Champions League,” the West Germany international continued.

“I think this victory means he is now a frontrunner for World Player of the Year. It would have been a disappointment for Ribery and, probably would have even upset his performances, if he hadn’t won Best Player in Europe.

“But now, with the title in the bag, he is perhaps even going to be a bit better than last season.”

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