The Ballon d”Or race is heating up as we edge closer to that fateful day when the best player in the world will be chosen by football coaches, players and managers. It looks like Ronaldo and Messi are once again the main contenders for the award this year as well.
Former Real Madrid coach Fabio Capello waded into the debate, giving his say on who should win the coveted prize this year.
Speaking to Fox Sports Italia he said, “He deserves to win the Ballon d’Or this season. He’s the best player of Real Madrid and Portugal, he has won everything this season. He’s been scoring bags of goals and has great personality.”
"He’s not a genius like the other one [Messi], but he’s a great player. I prefer Messi, but Ronaldo deserves to win the Ballon d’Or.”
From his quotes, it feels like Capello holds Messi in higher regard but it looks certain that Ronaldo will win his 4th Ballon d’Or this year.
Both have had incredible seasons so far and have kept up the level of their performances with incredible consistency. But you could say the Portuguese has the edge over his rival primarily because of the trophies he has won.
While Messi led his Argentina national team to the final of the Copa America 2016, Ronaldo went one better by helping his beloved Portugal side win the Euros. Madrid also won their 11th Champions League title which you could say holds more weight when compared to the domestic double.
Ronaldo also equaled Messi’s goal tally in La Liga this season after he scored a hat-trick against Atletico Madrid. Los Blancos have opened up a 9 point lead over their city rivals and a 4 point lead over Barcelona.
He broke a long-standing record as well with that hat-trick as he became the highest goalscorer in Madrid derby history. Alfredo Di Stefano was the proud holder of that record until the Portuguese broke it.
Should Ronaldo play as a striker?
Ronaldo benefitted from playing in the central striking role against Atletico with a well-deserved hat-trick. The 31-year-old usually plays out on the left but was moved into a central role against Atletico and it worked wonders.
But Zidane has not confirmed whether he will continue to play in that role this season. Given Benzema’s poor form and Morata’s unreliability maybe this could be the best option for the Frenchman.
Ronaldo has shown he has the movement pace and finishing ability of a striker and has always loved scoring goals. This could be a match made in heaven.