3 Reasons why Ronaldo will win the Ballon d'Or 2020
Cristiano Ronaldo has been in rare form this year. No one has been better than five-time Ballon d'Or winner since the beginning of 2020. Most recently, the current Portuguese captain added another feather in his cap as he became the first Juventus player to have scored in his 10 consecutive league appearances.
The former Real Madrid superstar turned 35 a few days ago, but age seems to be no barrier for the machine that is Ronaldo - this season, the forward has scored 34 goals in 34 games in all competitions. After a slow start to his second season in Italy, the Portuguese captain has stepped up big for the defending Italian champions who are now level on points with Inter Milan at the top of the Serie A table.
Ronaldo has always been someone who has let his performances do the speaking for him. After a lacklustre first season with Juventus by his extraordinary standards, the former UEFA Euro winning captain has bounced back this year with rage as he fights for the biggest of trophies and even more records. In this list, we take a look at three reasons why Ronaldo will win the Ballon d'Or 2020 award -
#1 He has a point to prove this season
There were a lot of talks about how Ronaldo has fallen off at his first season in Juventus when he had 28 goals in 43 appearances for the defending Serie A champions. This was in stark contrast to his final season in Real Madrid, wherein he netted 44 goals in as many appearances for the Los Blancos and guided them to a third straight Champions League title.
Ronaldo has set the bar very high for himself, and as such, his goal tally and Juventus' failure in the Champions League saw the forward finish third in the Ballon d'Or race in 2019, which was his lowest finish since 2010. Due to all the talk surrounding his age and his game, combined with the fact that his long-time rival Lionel Messi won his 6th Ballon d'Or award, Ronaldo has the most to prove this season. If there is one thing we know about the player, it's that he has an elite mentality and he never gives up. As such, he will be relishing this challenge to get back to the top of world football as he looks to silence his critics yet again.
So far this season, the former Manchester United player has been Juventus' star man as he looks to lead them to a ninth straight Scudetto. With Messi's Barcelona suffering and the Argentine himself coming into this season late with an injury, Ronaldo is clear in the race for next year's Ballon d'Or race already and has given himself a fast start with his performances so far this season. The motivation to match his rival will only invigorate the man more, as was seen a few years ago four Ballon d'Ors in five years to get back on par with his Barcelona counterpart.
#2 He has regained his goalscoring touch
As aforementioned in the last slide, Ronaldo had 28 goals in 43 appearances for Juventus last season. For most other players, this figure would have stood out in a debut season in a new league. For Ronaldo, however, the standards are so high that the campaign was considered just above average by most. The record-breaking goalscorer took that criticism in his stride, and he is now back to his best.
The five-time Champions League winner now has 23 goals in 28 appearances this season, with 20 goals in 20 Serie A games. Only Ciro Immobile has scored more goals in Italy's top division than Ronaldo, but it would be foolish to rule the race for the Golden Boot over at this stage of the season.
However, what stands out most is Ronaldo's goalscoring exploits as of late - he has scored 14 goals since Lionel Messi's sixth Ballon d'Or win in December, which is more than anybody else in the world during that period. Immobile and Robert Lewandowski have netted nine and eight goals respectively during that period, whereas Messi himself has managed to score only five.
Whenever Ronaldo has started off the year this strong, he has gone to lead his team to glory while scoring a goal almost every single game. Moreover, it is the Champions League where the Portuguese captain truly excels - he has more goals than anyone else in the knockout stages of the competition, which are just around the corner.
With Juventus facing Lyon, you can expect Ronaldo to show up at the stage which he loves the most as his club hopes to break their longstanding drought in Europe's most elite competition.
If Ronaldo can continue to find the back of the net at this rate, then no one can stop the five-time Ballon d'Or winner from claiming his sixth award at the end of this year.
#3 Club trophies - Juventus are on course for a treble this season
There is no doubt that it has been a rocky first season in charge for manager Maurizio Sarri at Juventus. However, despite some injury concerns and tactical tweaks, Juventus have as many points as league leaders Inter Milan after 23 games in the Serie A. They are set to face the struggling AC Milan in the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia, and they have the easiest draw of the Champions League Round of 16 as they face Lyon.
Although the Ballon d'Or is an individual award, more often than not, the trophies which the player has won with his club come into play when deciding upon a victor. It is not a compulsion that Ronaldo must win a couple of trophies to win the Golden Ball, but it would help his case.
Apart from the fact that he is one of the two greatest players of this century, Juventus signed Ronaldo for one major reason - they want to win the Champions League. Last season, they crashed out against Ajax in the quarter-finals of the competition, and the Italian champions will be looking to rectify that result this time around.
At the time of writing, Juventus are strong favourites for all the three competitions they are competing in, and there is a very real chance that the club ends this season with at least two major trophies; if not the historic treble.
If that is to happen, Ronaldo would be a lock for the Ballon d'Or podium as he has been by far his team's best player this season. When it comes to clutch performances in big games, perhaps no one has matched the Portuguese over the last 10 years, and his current form suggests that he is hungry to lead his team to glory.Published 10 Feb 2020, 13:46 IST