On Thursday night in Paris, Cristiano Ronaldo won his fifth Ballon d’Or award to move level with Barcelona rival Lionel Messi. Ronaldo played a massive part in Los Blancos winning La Liga and the Champions League last season.
His 42 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions were his second lowest goal tally since joining the club. However, a number of those goals were vital ones, especially hat-tricks against Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter and semi-finals, not to mention his brace in the final against Juventus.
Cristiano Ronaldo is a fine footballer. Love him or loathe him he knows where the old onion bag is and finds it on a regular basis. He works hard and shows tremendous determination to be the best in the world.
The 32-year-old has received so much praise in recent years that when I set out to write this article I was struggling to come up with any new material. Therefore, I decided just to go over some old ground.
Ronaldo v Messi the never-ending debate
The two world stars are now level on Ballon d’Or wins. The debate will rage on for years to come about who is the better of the two. Both players have their strengths, though.
For me, Lionel Messi is a more gifted football. His ability is almost god given. However, Ronaldo on the other hand, though not lacking talent, has made it to the top by hard work, belief and determination.
Ronaldo is a finer physical specimen and stronger than Messi. However, Messi has finer ball skills and is more of a team player. It is impossible to decide between the two.
Everybody will have his or her own opinion on who is the better player. However, football is a game of opinions and that is what makes it a great global game. Without different opinions on football, the game would lack edge and competitiveness.
Ronaldo’s numbers are amazing
Anyway, now that is out of the way, let us look at Cristiano Ronaldo’s career stats. They are simply amazing. Now in his ninth season in the Spanish capital, Ronaldo’s lowest ever goal tally was back in 2009/10, his first season with Los Blancos.
The highlight of his goal scoring exploits came in season 2014/15 when the Portuguese forward scored an incredible 61 goals. Last season’s tally of 42 would be a big number by most other players standards (apart from Messi).
By Ronaldo’s standards, though it was a measly amount of goals. In the calendar 2017, the Real Madrid star scored 47 goals. It takes incredible professionalism, belief, determination and hard work to keep scoring goals at that rate.
Can he win a sixth Ballon d’Or?
One of the biggest questions remains can he win a sixth Ballon d’Or before his career ends. It will be highly difficult for the Portuguese star to win the award in 2018, as Messi has been in top form this season.
As Ronaldo said himself after winning the award, trophies win you the Ballon d’Or. If Barcelona wins La Liga and does well in the Champions League then Messi will automatically become the favourite for the award.
The Catalan side currently sits top of La Liga, eight points clear of Real Madrid in fourth place. There is still plenty of the season left, but eight points is a big gap to make up and if Messi continues his current form it will be hard to see Ernesto Valverde’s side slipping up.
If Real Madrid fails to win La Liga, then Ronaldo’s best hope of winning a sixth Ballon d’Or trophy would be to help Los Blancos to a third consecutive Champions League triumph, something they are odds of 6/1 to achieve.
You cannot write-off Ronaldo and his Los Blancos teammates. For now, though Ronaldo has to be content with his fifth Ballon d’Or. Who knows what the future will bring. At the minute, he can still claim to be the best player on the planet.
Can Cristiano Ronaldo win a sixth Ballon d’Or?
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