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Cristiano Ronaldo: Why Juventus star could win Ballon d’Or if he wins UEFA Nations League

ANALYST
Feature
11.64K   //    07 Jun 2019, 18:35 IST

Cristiano Ronaldo is in top shape ahead of the UEFA Nations League final.
Cristiano Ronaldo is in top shape ahead of the UEFA Nations League final.

The race for the Ballon d’Or is getting keener with each passing month, as various players continue to stake a claim for the prestigious individual award.

Luka Modric’s win last year ended the duopoly of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who had dominated the award in the last decade with five Ballon d’Ors apiece.

For the better part of 2019, though, Messi has been rated by many as the favourite to record a sixth triumph, with Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk also tipped as a close contender. However, one name that has been conspicuously missing from the list of top contenders is Ronaldo.

The Portuguese did not enjoy the best of seasons during his debut Serie A campaign, but still managed 27 goals and 10 assists in all competitions. By any other player’s standards these are incredible numbers but, by Ronaldo’s standards, this was a low turnout.

However, after leading Portugal to the UEFA Nations League final, the 34-year-old is back in contention for the Ballon d’Or. Until now, it was seen as a two-horse race between Messi and Van Dijk, but Ronaldo cannot be ignored anymore.

On Wednesday, he singlehandedly led his country into the final after scoring a sensational hat-trick against Switzerland in the semi-final of the tournament. It could be argued that Messi and van Dijk have had better individual seasons, but there is still a lot of time before the year ends; a lot of time for Ronaldo to catch up.

We are just six months into the year, and winning the UEFA Nations League would definitely put Ronaldo back into contention for the Ballon d’Or.

Of course, he has Van Dijk and the Netherlands to beat in that final. Should Ronaldo lead Portugal to glory, it will also be getting one over the Liverpool defender in the race for the Ballon d’Or.

However, there is also Messi, who is a huge favourite at the moment.

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The Barcelona star is coming on the back of an incredible season where he contributed to a combined 70 (51 goals and 19 assists). Messi also has the Copa America to contend with, which would be key to determining his fate in the Ballon d’Or.

The 31-year-old might be a favourite now, but failure to lead Argentina to glory would definitely see his ratings drop, especially if Ronaldo leads Portugal to win the UEFA Nations League. 

So, Messi and Van Dijk are currently the two hot favourites for the Ballon d’Or, but a win for Ronaldo in the UEFA Nations League final would put the Portuguese star right in the mix.

As it stands, all three players have won one major trophy at club level. The next six months of 2019 should be interesting for all football fans!

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