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Europa League round of 16 draw

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Perez deserves a first-team spot

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My 2013 Ballon d'Or ballot

Cristiano Ronaldo has had a remarkable year for Portugal and Real Madrid.
Cristiano Ronaldo has had a remarkable year for Portugal and Real Madrid.

The Ballon d’Or award aims to determine who the best individual soccer player is throughout any given year. This is tough given the crowded fixture schedule of some of the world’s best players, and even tougher given the fact that 2013 was a year for World Cup qualifying.

The three finalists for the award -- Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery -- are all worthy contenders, and a strong argument can be made for each player given their respective impacts for both club and country in 2013.

But only one player has stood out above the rest, especially with his performances in big games, and is most deserving of this honor. Here is my full Ballon d’Or ballot:

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