Maradona backs Ronaldo for Ballon d'Or prize

Argentina legend Diego Maradona believes Cristiano Ronaldo is more deserving of the FIFA Ballon d'Or than compatriot Lionel Messi.

The prestigious award is set to be handed out in Zurich on January 13, with Ronaldo, Messi and Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery all in the running to be crowned the world's best player. 

A win for the Argentina international would see him ranked as the best player on the planet for the fifth year running, but Maradona claims 2008 winner Ronaldo should take the honour. 

Former Argentina international Maradona, his country's coach for the FIFA World Cup in 2010, feels Messi's injury problems this season have held him back and Real Madrid forward Ronaldo has earned the accolade. 

"Cristiano Ronaldo should win. Messi has been injured a lot this year," he told Algerian newspaper Le Buteur

FIFA president Sepp Blatter caused controversy prior to the final shortlist being announced when he appeared to state his preference for Messi over Ronaldo.

He described Messi as a "good boy who every mother and father would like to have at home", adding that "he will always get a lot of votes because he is this nice man"