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Arsenal can lay down a marker

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Coentrao: Ribery can't win Ballon d'Or

Real Madrid defender Fabio Coentrao believes you “can’t give” this year’s Ballon d’Or to Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery.

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Ribery will battle for the title of the world’s best player with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Portugal international Cristiano Ronaldo.

However, Coentrao, Ronaldo’s club and international team-mate, believes there is only one clear winner.

"Messi is an excellent player, but he has been out of action a long time," the full-back told A Bola. "And you can't give an award like this to Ribery, who only scored 22 goals.

"Cristiano Ronaldo has always been at the top of his game and scored [more than] twice as many."

Meanwhile, Newcastle winger Hatem Ben Arfa has weighed into the argument, believing Ribery deserves the accolade despite Ronaldo’s workload.

"When you see the stats of Ronaldo, he is carrying Real Madrid on his own," the Newcastle winger told L'Equipe.

"But if I had the power, I would give it to Ribery. He won everything with Bayern and contributed to their great season."

The winner of the 2013 Ballon d'Or will be announced at in Zurich, Switzerland on January 13.

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