Still time for Cristiano Ronaldo to win his sixth Ballon d’Or
There have been accolades pouring out from different quarters for Real Madrid legend Cristiano Ronaldo, who recently won the record-equaling fifth Ballon d'Or to match his long-term rival, Lionel Messi.
The 32-year-old Portuguese maestro has been criticized for his performances this season, with many believing he is nearing the end of his career. However, the determination and way Ronaldo applies the ball mean that the former Manchester United man is going nowhere soon. Fair enough, his pace may be declining year after year, yet his awareness in front of goal is almost second to none. He has stated that he wants to play till he is 40, and few will doubt that he could. Ronaldo is the perfect professional, known for his dedication to training and willingness to keep improving.
Ronaldo might have made a ludicrous statement after winning his latest award in Paris, saying that he’s the best in the history of the beautiful game. That may be far-reaching, but his statistics don’t lie. He has shown his detractors over time that criticism doesn’t affect him. Although his form in La Liga has been poor, he is still the top scorer in the Champions League with nine strikes already. Ronaldo also scored twice in the weekend victory over Sevilla, a 5-0 drubbing of the Andalusian side, which may kick-start his season in La Liga.
Ronaldo has scored only four times in the league, but he still has a respectable 14 goals in 19 matches in all competitions this season. Real Madrid have failed to reach the enviable heights of last season, as the sales of Alvaro Morata, James Rodriguez and Pepe have affected their squad depth. They are eight points behind bitter rivals Barcelona, and they finished 2nd behind English outfit Tottenham in the Champions League group stage.
If Madrid go on a run of victories in the 2nd half of the season to win the Champions League yet again, Ronaldo may win another Ballon d’Or and surpass Messi. Apart from Ronaldo, few players in the world, if any, could come back from 4-1 against Messi to claw back the individual honours to 5-5.
Ronaldo will be 33 in February, meaning that his days at the top may soon be over. With Ronaldo, though, one must never predict. Like a magician, one can never say what he will bring out of the hat. His next journey starts with the Club World Cup this month, which Madrid are the favorites to win.
Madrid are a different proposition from January. With Ronaldo in fine form, he could lead them to a third consecutive Champions League title.
If Real Madrid lift the Champions League trophy this season, which has become a prerequisite for a player winning the France Football Magazine Ballon D’Or, with Ronaldo leading the charge, who says he can’t win another individual honour. Write off Ronaldo at your own peril.