Ballon d'Or 2019: Jose Mourinho believes Messi and Ronaldo can't win the award because of their UCL failure
What's the story?
Former Manchester United and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes the failure of Barcelona and Juventus in the Champions League this season may have dampened Lionel Messi's and Cristiano Ronaldo's chances of winning a record sixth Ballon d'Or this year.
In case you didn't know...
Barcelona and Juventus were initially the favourites to lift the Champions League title going into the season owing to Messi's scintillating form and the arrival of Ronaldo at Turin.
The Bianconeri saw their hopes dashed when they faced Dutch giants Ajax in the quarter-finals of the competition. Despite having had an away-goal advantage, the Italian giants crashed out of the competition after a 2-1 defeat in the second leg negated their lead.
Barcelona, on the other hand, wasted a significant three-goal lead against Liverpool in the semi-finals of the competition and saw what could have been another trophy slip away from them.
The Catalan giants were expected to complete a historic treble with a Champions League semi-final spot and a Copa del Rey final place already secured. However, the Blaugrana could not even finish their season with a domestic double as they succumbed to a 2-1 defeat to Valencia in the Copa del Rey finals in Seville.
The heart of the matter
Speaking in an interview with Eleven Sports (via Goal), Mourinho has admitted that many people are already talking about this year's potential Ballon d'Or winner because they know that Messi and Ronaldo "can't win" owing to their European disappointment. He added that winning titles is an important aspect of becoming the best in the world and talent alone is not enough in the present era.
The Portuguese said, "A golden boot, the best player in the world, has to be a winner. This thing with a lot of quality, a lot of talent, no titles, it doesn't work. Right now, if Juventus had won the Champions League, we were saying that Ronaldo will win the [Golden] ball."
"If Barcelona had won the Champions League, they would have won the Spanish championship, now they're going to the Copa America, the golden ball for Messi. Because they've been removed from the European football championship, we're already talking about who could win, because they can't. That's why I always say, always sustaining victories and important victories."
The 2018-19 Champions League final between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur is set to take place tonight at 12.30AM (IST).