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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Neymar Ballon d'Or victory only a matter of time - Kaka

It is only a matter of time until a Brazilian again wins the Ballon d'Or, Kaka told

In 2007, the former AC Milan and Real Madrid star beat out Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to earn the top honor and this year his compatriot, Neymar, is lined up alongside the same two fellow La Liga stars on the shortlist for the top honor, which will be awarded on Jan. 11.

Neymar is the first Brazilian to be among the top three finalists since Kaka's own triumph in 2007 and his veteran Selecao mate thinks it has taken eight long years to see another Brazilian at the top of the list only because the conditions to be nominated for the prize are so demanding.

"It's difficult to point out a single reason for this, but it must serve to alert Brazilian football. And, truth be told, it's no easy task to forge a Ballon d'Or winner," said Kaka, who played on Brazil's 2002 World Cup winning squad.

Neymar's Ballon d'Or nomination serves to alert Brazil, says Kaka.

"Thankfully, Neymar has improved a lot since he's gone to play in Europe -- his game is a lot more mature," Kaka said. "Now it's a matter of time until he reaches first place."

The midfielder, who now plays for Major League Soccer side Orlando City, said the dominance of Messi and Ronaldo is understandable, given their accomplishments.

"It had always been a rotation: Ronaldo and Zidane won it three times, but there was always some other player -- names like Figo, Ronaldinho, myself, Rivaldo, Cannavaro... Then comes this succession of Cristiano and Messi, only the two of them -- and it is fair, for what they have been doing year after year," the 33-year-old said.


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