It’s Ronaldo vs. Messi for Golden Ball

Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo and FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi are the favorites to win this year’s “Ballon d’Or.”

The “Ballon d’Or” (French for “Golden Ball”) is given by France Football magazine to Europe’s top player. The current holder of the award, as selected in 2007, is AC Milan’s Kaka.

Ronaldo finished runner-up to the Milan midfielder last year, while Messi was third.

Kaka was again among the 30 contenders released Tuesday by the magazine, but does not believe he will win this time round.

“I am realistic. This one won’t be for me. It’s a shame, but it’s logical,” Kaka said. “AC Milan did not have a good season.”

“My favorite is Cristiano Ronaldo,” Kaka added. “He won two major titles with Manchester, and he scored a lot of goals.”

The 23-year-old Portugal winger scored 42 goals in all matches to help the Red Devils win the Premier League title and the Champions League.

The 21-year-old Messi was also in dazzling form for Barca, scoring numerous breathtaking individual goals for the club. He also contributed for Argentina’s Olympic gold medal in Beijing.

“He is the kind of player I really like,” Kaka said. “Like Cristiano, he dribbles, he scores. Messi often does it all on his own.”