Messi won the Ballon d’Or four years in a row from 2009 to 2012. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
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Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi is targeting an unprecedented fifth Ballon d'Or award in Zurich Monday, with the Argentine heavily favored to reclaim the prize from three-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo. Brazil striker Neymar, who plays alongside Messi at Barca, is also in the running to be crowned world player of the year after he was included on the three-man shortlist for the first time.Neymar may appear an outsider for the award this time, but the Brazilian is emerging as the main threat to end the Messi-Ronaldo Ballon d'Or stranglehold – Kaka in 2007 was the last player other than the dominant duo to claim the prize – after transforming his prodigious talent into 41 goals of his own this past year.
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