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Although the World Cup winner thinks the Frenchman has earned the accolade, he says he would not be surprised if the award went to the Real Madrid man instead.

Germany legend Franz Beckenbauer has tipped Cristiano Ronaldo to win the upcoming Ballon d'Or, despite believing Franck Ribery is more deserving of the award.

The Frenchman's performances for Bayern Munich, who lifted the treble under Jupp Heynckes last season and has looked in fine form under new coach Pep Guardiola this campaign, has earned him plenty of plaudits and he is a front-runner ahead of January's gala.

And though Beckenbauer thinks that Ribery should follow in Lionel Messi's footsteps as the Ballon d'Or winner, he says that Real Madrid forward Ronaldo will be a tough competitor to overcome.

"Normally Ribery would have to win this time but nothing is normal in these votes," Beckenbauer, who won the Ballon d'Or in 1972 and 1976, told Sky Germany. "Ronaldo has put everything in one basket, he has all the ambition and characteristics to win the Ballon d'Or. Although Ribery has been the best throughout the year, it would not surprise me if in the end Ronaldo wins it."

The Ballon d'Or award ceremony takes place Jan. 13.

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