Written by Staff Writer
22 Nov, 2014 | 9:37 am
Former Brazil international Ronaldo says that Cristiano Ronaldo is having a more memorable 2014 than Lionel Messi, and has backed the Real Madrid superstar to win this year’s Ballon d’Or award.
Other players including Germany’s World Cup winners Manuel Neuer and Thomas Muller, as well as the Netherlands’ Arjen Robben, have also been mentioned as deserving winners of the prize, but Cristiano is the odds-on favourite with Messi a clear second in the running.
Former Madrid, Barcelona and Inter Milan forward Ronaldo told Sky Italia — in quotes picked up in AS — that he thinks the Portugal captain, 29, is in line to land a third career prize.
“I believe [Cristiano] will win it again this year,” the 1997 and 2002 winner of the award said. “He is scoring lots of goals, plus he is helping with Real Madrid’s general play. Messi is also playing well, but Cristiano’s year is memorable. Messi’s year is not turning out so memorable for him.”
Meanwhile a mini-scandal has arisen in the Spanish media over comments made by ex-Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso, when he suggested in Bild that his current Bayern Munich teammate Neuer would “certainly” be a “justified” winner of this year’s Ballon d’Or given the goalkeeper’s achievements for club and especially country.
These comments have reportedly not gone down well in Cristiano’s camp, with radio show El Partido de los 12 saying Alonso had telephoned his former teammate especially to apologise if any offence had been caused.
Alonso hailing Neuer as “the best goalkeeper I have ever played with, by far” has also been taken by many in Spain as a blow aimed at another former colleague Iker Casillas. The relationship between Alonso and Casillas is widely believed to have deteriorated during Jose Mourinho’s turbulent time as Madrid coach.
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