Xavi names Cristiano Ronaldo as the favourite to win the Ballon d'Or
The midfield maestro angered Ronaldo with his comments previously but now favours him to win the prize.
Barcelona legend Xavi says that Real Madrid talisman Cristiano Ronaldo is the favourite to have his hands on the Ballon d'Or trophy this year. The Portuguese forward, who has already taken the trophy thrice is expected to be listed in the top three nominees, following a fruitful summer where he won the Champions League and the Euro 2016 tournament.
The two superstars were involved in a public spat last month, as the Spaniard midfield maestro revealed teammate Lionel Messi as superior to CR7: "Ronaldo is a player of his time, the problem is that there is another who has been pretty much the best player in history.
“Ronaldo is extraordinary but compared to Messi, for me and for everyone who likes football, there can be no comparisons.
“Messi will be number one until he wants [to stop]. He's superior to everyone and is the best in the world unless you are Real Madrid."
The comments prompted Ronaldo to take a dig at the World Cup winner.
"I'm the most searched player on the internet. Anyone who wants free publicity or media attention talks about me,” the Portuguese forward added.
"I couldn't care less about what Xavi says about me, he plays in Qatar or I don't even know where. He's won every collective trophy, including a World Cup and the European Championship, but he's never won a Ballon d’Or.”
But despite the back answer, the 36-year-old says that current European Player of the Year is the favourite to win the prize along with claiming that it won't be an easy competition for Ronaldo. The Al Sadd midfielder also mentioned former teammate Lionel Messi to be up there with the Portuguese showstopper.
"Cristiano has the numbers to win this year's Ballon d'Or, having won the Champions League and the Euros," he said at the Aspire4Sports event in Amsterdam.
"But I also think that it'll be very competitive, because Messi will be there, of course."
Both La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid endured a disappointing result in the last weekend, with the La Liga winners losing 4-3 to Celta Vigo and the Los Blanco's claiming a fourth consecutive tie. Though both the Spanish outfits might have the best players, they need to pull up their socks if they wish to be back in the race for the La Liga title.