Former Brazil international Roberto Carlos believes Cristiano Ronaldo will win the next Ballon d’Or ahead of Barcelona rival Lionel Messi.
The former wing-back, who featured in a Real Madrid legends match at the Santiago Bernabeu this weekend, believes Ronaldo has the edge by virtue of Los Blancos’ Champions League triumph.
‘Cristiano Ronaldo will win the Ballon d’Or, even if he doesn’t win the Euros,’ Carlos told reporters following Sunday’s game, reports the Daily Star.
‘Messi is a good player, but winning the Champions League counts for a lot.
‘The best player in the world decided the competition. I think he’ll be the best in the world again.’
But the Ballon d’Or still seems a distant proposition at this stage of the year given that the results of Euro 2016 and the Copa America could yet swing the balance.
Indeed, Ronaldo may yet face stiffer competition from Messi’s Barcelona teammate Luis Suarez, particularly should the striker lift the Copa America trophy with Uruguay. Meanwhile, Messi’s Argentina look poised to be the team to beat at the same competition, while Ronaldo’s Portugal are not among the favourites for European glory.
Messi has won the World’s Best Player award on five occasions in his career, while Ronaldo could close the gap by claiming a fourth should he be take the prize for 2016.
Messi scored 38 goals from 46 appearances in a withdrawn right-wing role for Barca, while Suarez was the club’s top scorer with 58 goals from 50 appearances.
Ronaldo, for his part, managed 51 strikes from his 48 games as a left forward, 16 of which came in the Champions League.