There is no doubt that Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo will retain the Ballon d’Or ahead of Lionel Messi, according to former team-mate Hugo Almeida.
It was another memorable season for four-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo, who helped Madrid to LaLiga and Champions League glory.
Ronaldo scored 42 goals in all competitions – 25 coming in LaLiga as Madrid were crowned champions of Spain for the first time since 2012 after dethroning Barcelona.
He netted 12 in Europe – including a match-winning brace in the 4-1 Champions League final victory against Juventus – to seal the competition’s top scorer award for a record fifth successive season and the sixth time in his career as Madrid became the first side to retain the trophy under its current guise.
Barca’s Messi netted 54 during the 2016-17 campaign but Almeida – who played alongside Ronaldo for Portugal and scored 19 goals in 57 caps – has backed his former international colleague to clinch a record-equalling fifth Ballon d’Or.
“Of course he will win the Ballon d’Or,” Almeida – now playing for AEK in Greece – told Omnisport.
“He won LaLiga and the Champions League what more can you want?
“In the final stages of the Champions League, he scored 10 goals against the biggest teams – Juventus, Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich.
“No doubt that he will win the Ballon d’Or.”
Despite his exploits in 2016-17, Ronaldo was still heavily scrutinised by his own fans in Madrid.
Madrid’s all-time leading scorer – who has now recorded 600 career goals – was the target of boos and whistles at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Ronaldo has publicly voiced his frustration over the treatment and Almeida said it is unwarranted.
“It’s unfair. He doesn’t have to prove anything to nobody,” Almeida continued.
“Every year he does something great, makes records. People think he will go down but he is not. He is coming and coming more stronger.
“He is the best in the world… he is a machine.”
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