The Portugal forward was named on FIFA's shortlist for the award on Friday alongside Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery and Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi.

Ronaldo has finished as runner-up to Messi for the last two years, but the former Manchester United man is the bookmakers' favourite this year after netting a stunning 63 goals in 52 games in 2013.

Despite widespread talk that he will land the prestigious gong, Ronaldo has played down the importance of winning the award.

He told beIN Sport: "I think it's not the most important thing in a career.

"Maybe it's important for many players, I understand that, but it's just an individual trophy, there are things that are more important than that, like having a fantastic career and winning things for your club.

"It's just one more trophy, so it's good, but it's not the end of the world if you don't win it.

"I can think of many great players who deserved to win the Ballon d'Or but never did, so it's just a trophy."

Ronaldo's international and domestic team-mate Pepe was quick to give his backing to the attacker, whose overall Real record stands at 226 goals scored in 217 games.

He said: "The only player who deserves it is Cristiano because it's an individual award and he's playing brilliantly this year."