Messi Clear in Ballon d’Or Race

FIFA has announced a 23-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or with Lionel Messi installed as red hot 1/5 favourite as he bids to win the prize for a fourth time.

Messi helped Barcelona to Champions League glory earlier this year and is hotly tipped to add to his personal collection when the prizes are handed out in Zurich in January.

His nearest rival in the betting is 2013 and 2014 winner Cristian Ronaldo at 9/2 with Bayern Munich and Poland striker Robert Lewandowski next in the betting at 16/1.

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Brazil and Barcelona’s Neymar is priced at 22/1 whilst the only British player to be shortlisted, Gareth Bale, is on offer at 80/1 and can be backed at 33/1 in the betting without Messi and Ronaldo market which is currently headed by Robert Lewandowski at 6/5.

The betting without market should prove popular with punters given Messi and Ronaldo’s recent dominance and there is expected to be plenty of interest in numerous players including Messi’s teammate Luis Suarez at 6/1 who netted a goal in their Champions League Final victory last June.

*Prices correct at time of publication