November 2019: Top 4 Ballon d'Or performers of the month
The Ballon d'Or is an annual football award by France Football, for the footballer deemed to have produced the best performance for club and country during the year. Conceptualized in 1955, 44 different players from 19 different nations have been bestowed with the prestigious award. 10 players have won the Ballon d'Or on multiple occasions, with seven of them doing so in back-to-back years.
Johan Cruyff (1973-74) was the first player to win the Ballon d'Or in consecutive years, before Kevin Keegan (1978-79), Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (1980-81), Michel Platini (1983-85), and Marco Van Basten (1988-89) followed suit. It would be 21 more years before another player would win the Ballon d'Or in back-to-back years.
It happened to be an Argentinian magician by the name Lionel Messi, who became the first player to win the award in four consecutive years (2009-2012). Messi won a record-extending fifth award in 2015, either side of back-to-back Ballon d'Ors for Cristiano Ronaldo, who is the only player in the history of the award to have won it in consecutive years on two separate occasions.
On that note, let look at the four standout Ballon d'Or performers in the month of November 2019, and find out who has bolstered their case to win the prestigious award.
#4 Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus / Portugal)
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his fourth hat-trick of the year (3 for Portugal, 1 for Juventus) in the penultimate game of the Euro 2020 qualifiers where Portugal beat Lithuania 3-0 at home. Three days later, Ronaldo scored his nation's second goal in a 2-0 away win in Luxembourg to secure the defending European champion's qualification for the quadrennial tournament next summer.
In the process, Ronaldo swelled his goal tally in international football to 99, which is the highest by any player after Iran's Ali Daei.
But in club football Ronaldo had a lukewarm month, failing to score in his side's 2-1 away win at Lokomotiv Moscow and the 1-0 home win over Atletico Madrid which confirmed already-qualified Juventus as the group winners. Ronaldo narrowly failed to become the first player in Champions League history to score against 34 different teams when his goal-bound free-kick was spilled by the Spartak keeper and his Bianconeri team-mate Aaron Ramsey prodded the ball into an unguarded net.
The 34-year-old did not find the back of the net in Juventus's solitary goal Serie A wins over Torino (away) and AC Milan home either.
With four goals and an assist in the month, Ronaldo took his goals + assists tally for the calendar year to 37 (32 goals and five assists). It has not been an unremarkable season from the Portugal captain by any stretch of the imagination, but in 2019 he has not been able to score with the same regularity as he did during his time at Real Madrid.
Despite winning the Serie A and the Super Coppa Italiana for Juventus, and the UEFA Nations League for Portugal in which scored a hat-trick in the semi-final, it has generally been an underwhelming year by Ronaldo's lofty standards. Hence, it can arguably be concluded that the Juventus striker is not in serious contention to win a record 6th Ballon d'Or in 2019.