By Ben Lyttleton
January 13, 2014
Cristiano Ronaldo, center, edged out Franck Ribery, left and Lionel Messi to claim FIFA's Ballon d'Or.

But more than Ronaldo's goals, Ribery's trophies or Messi's injuries, this Ballon D'Or will be the one that almost ate itself. Blatter's 'Commander' impression, the voting change, the public lobbying, teammates voting for their man: this prize used to be about football, but is now about politics. France Football admitted as much: "Since FIFA's association [in 2010], it has become a sort of Holy Grail, whose quest is as fundamental as the prestige that accompanies it." I guess that's what happens when you get into bed with FIFA.

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