Cristiano Ronaldo is the standout candidate to win the Ballon d’Or, according to Alex Ferguson.
The Real Madrid and Portugal star is the heavy favourite to be crowned the world’s best player in 2016 having been named in the 30-man shortlist for the award along with the likes of Antoine Griezmann and five-time winner Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo has claimed the award on three previous occasions, including once under Ferguson in 2008 during his time at Manchester United.
Ferguson hailed Ronaldo’s achievements in a year that saw him win the Champions League as well as Euro 2016 and cannot think of anyone better to receive top recognition.
“Cristiano’s achievements are unsurpassed, he has had a wonderful year,” Ferguson said to Marca.
“I cannot think of anyone better to lift the Ballon d’Or trophy.
“He won both the Champions League with Real Madrid and captained Portugal at Euro 2016 where, despite having to miss the end of the final through injury, he was on the sideline cheering on his team-mates, such was his desire to lift the trophy. It was wonderful.
“One of the moments when I feel most proud is the thought that Manchester United played a role in his career and we wish him well.”
Ferguson paid tribute to Ronaldo’s attitude and work ethic, describing those factors as the driving force behind his success.
“Having him under my orders from the age of 17 has allowed me to see his progression, but also understand what made him a star of that magnitude,” Ferguson added.
“Cristiano had the work ethic needed to become a complete player, as well as the natural talent.
“He had this amazing determination, that desire to be the best to obsessive levels, topped with an amazing discipline in training.
“That constant desire drove him in his daily work and even as a young player at United he was an example for everyone.”