'Varane is great but Ballon d'Or is Ronaldo's': Bonucci makes his pick and explains why
What's the story?
Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci has given his verdict on the favourites to win this year's prestigious Ballon d'Or, stating that while he would love for defenders to win the accolade, the award should go to his teammate Cristiano Ronaldo.
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France Football has already released a 30-man shortlist of nominees for this year's edition of the Ballon d'Or award, prompting fans, players and experts to give their verdict on who will win the accolade: will someone end the Messi-Ronaldo duopoly? Will one of the two break another record with a sixth Ballon d'Or?
The list of nominees includes Sergio Aguero, Alisson Becker, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Edinson Cavani, Thibaut Courtois, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kevin De Bruyne, Roberto Firmino, Diego Godin, Antoine Griezmann, Eden Hazard, Isco, Harry Kane, N’Golo Kante, Hugo Lloris, Mario Mandzukic, Sadio Mane, Marcelo, Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, Luka Modric, Neymar, Paul Pogba, Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Ramos, Mohamed Salah, Luis Suarez, Jan Oblak and Raphael Varane.
The heart of the matter
Bonucci has named teammate Cristiano Ronaldo as his top pick for the prestigious award ahead of the likes of Raphael Varane.
While the Bianconeri defender expressed his desire to see a defender taking home the award, he insisted that the accolade should go to Ronaldo this time.
The Italian defender said (via Goal), "It would be nice to see a defender win the Ballon d’Or like Varane but, as much as he gave to Real last year and for all that he has shown, the Golden Ball must go to Cristiano Ronaldo."
Ronaldo has had an incredible final year at Real Madrid, having helped the side to Champions League glory once again.
Video: Ronaldo's taken to Serie A like a fish to water
Whether Ronaldo becomes the first man to win a record six Ballon d'Or awards remains to be seen as the voting ends on November 9 and the winner is set to be announced on December 3.