Ballon d'Or 2019 news: "Ronaldo deserves to win the award, Barcelona's Champions League exit reduced Messi's chances", says former Juventus star
What's the story?
Former Juventus defender Medhi Benatia believes Cristiano Ronaldo deserves to win the prestigious Ballon d'Or award this year and has opined that Lionel Messi has reduced his own chances, owing to Barcelona's Champions League exit.
In case you didn't know...
Ronaldo and Messi have dominated the Ballon d'Or scene for over a decade before Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric broke the duopoly by winning the prize last year. The Croatian was recognised for his role in Los Blancos' third consecutive Champions League triumph and his contribution to his nation's journey in the FIFA World Cup last summer.
Ronaldo, who moved to Juventus last summer, enjoyed a decent debut season in Turin, having helped the Old Lady to their eighth consecutive Serie A title. In the Champions League, however, the Portuguese forward failed to inspire his side beyond the quarter-final stage of the competition. The former Real Madrid talisman has netted 26 goals in all competitions for the Bianconeri this season.
Meanwhile, Messi, who has been in scintillating form all season, guided Barcelona to yet another La Liga title but like Ronaldo, he failed to inspire his team to European glory. The Blaugrana crashed out of the Champions League after giving away a three-goal lead to Liverpool, who progress to the final in Madrid.
The Argentine maestro boasts of having scored 48 goals in all competitions for Barcelona this season and will look to increase his tally when he faces Valencia in the Copa del Rey final.
The heart of the matter
Benatia has given his verdict on who should win the Ballon d'Or award this year by saying,
"Ronaldo? He deserves to win the Ballon d'or according to me. We first have to wait and see who wins the UCL.
"Messi? He had an incredible season. He would deserve it too but with Liverpool beating Barcelona, I think this reduced his chances."
In a season full of surprises, it remains to be seen who will be awarded with football's most prestigious award this year, with Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk also being in the fray.