Brazil legend Ronaldo puts his money on Lionel Messi for the Ballon d’Or
Former Brazil international Ronaldo has backed Barcelona’s crown jewel Lionel Messi to lift the FIFA Ballon d’Or Award. The legendary Brazilian footballer believes Messi will be the man of the hour at the FIFA 2013 Ballon d’Or ceremony in Switzerland later this month.
Ronaldo insists that Messi’s injury woes over the last couple of months will not put him of course from putting another Ballon d’Or award on the table. Messi, who has won the past four Ballon d’Or awards, is in intense competition with Real Madrid’s Portuguese hit-man Cristiano Ronaldo for the coveted award.
Ronaldo, who won three Ballon d’Or awards before calling the curtain on his career, admits Messi is at a slight disadvantage because of his absence from football during the last months of 2013, but the Argentinean forward has accomplished enough to win his fifth consecutive Ballon d’Or award.
“Cristiano has been amazing this year. But he has been like that in the last five years,” Ronaldo said. “Messi is a more spectacular player and I would vote for him if I had the chance.”
Ronaldo, who is currently busy with his duties in the Organizing Committee for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, will be at the Ballon d’Or ceremony on Monday. The three names nominated for the Ballon d’Or are Messi, Ronaldo and Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery.
The French winger has a strong chance of putting the silverware on his mantle as well. Ribery played a pivotal role in taking Bayern Munich to a treble-winning season last year. The France international has had a stellar season and has already won the award for the UEFA’s Best Player in Europe for the last year.
Ronaldo, who has played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid, claims Ribery’s presence in three-man list for the Ballon d’Or will cut votes that would have initially gone in favor of Ronaldo.
“A lot of people in Germany told me that the credibility of the Ballon D'Or could be affected if Ribery does not win it. This could have influenced the vote, even after Cristiano had that performance against Sweden in the World Cup qualifiers.
“The only certainty is that this Ronaldo here won't win it for a fourth time,” Ronaldo added with a smile.
Ronaldo won his first two Ballon d’Or awards in 1996 with George Weah as runner up and 1997 when Zinedine Zidane fell short by some votes. The third Ballon d’Or title came in 2002 when Ronaldo performed brilliantly for Inter Milan and Real Madrid and later guided his country to the World Cup. Germany goalkeeper Oliver Khan came second in the race for the title.