Cristiano Ronaldo says he deserves to win the Ballon d’Or for a sixth time, over rivals including Antoine Griezmann, Luka Modric, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo and Messi have won the award five times each over the last decade, but the duo face stronger competition in 2018 than for many years.
Griezmann and Mbappe have a World Cup win on their records, while Modric claimed the Golden Ball at Russia 2018 for his star performances in Croatia’s run to the final.
Ronaldo helped fire Real Madrid to a third consecutive Champions League crown before joining Juventus and he is in no doubt he should win the Ballon d’Or again.
‘I said many times, winning a sixth Ballon d’Or is not an obsession,’ Ronaldo said in a France Football interview. ‘And I do not ask the question in these terms.
‘I already know, in my heart, that I am one of the best players in history. Of course I want to win, this sixth Ballon d’Or!
‘It would be a lie to tell you the opposite. I work for that. As I work to score goals and win games without being an obsession. The Ballon d’Or, yes, I think I deserve it.’
Ronaldo’s decision to join Juve in a deal worth €112million rocked the football world, ending the Portugal star’s nine-year stay in the Spanish capital.
And the 33-year-old explained he decided to sign for the Serie A champions due to a breakdown in his relationship with Madrid president Florentino Perez.
‘He only ever looked at me as a business relationship,’ Ronaldo added. ‘I know it. What he told me never came from the heart.
‘I felt it inside the club, especially from the president, that they no longer considered me the same way that they did in the start.
‘In the first four or five years there, I had the feeling of being ‘Cristiano Ronaldo’. Less afterwards. The president looked at me through eyes that didn’t want to say the same thing, as if I was no longer indispensable to them, if you know what I mean.
‘That’s what made me think about leaving. Sometimes I’d look at the news, where they were saying I was asking to leave. There was a bit of that, but the truth is that I always had the impression that the president would not hold me back.
‘If it had all been about money, I’d have moved to China, where I would have earned five times as much than here [at Juve] or at Real. I did not come to Juve for the money. I earned the same in Madrid, if not more.
‘The difference is that, at Juve, they really wanted me. They told me that and made it clear. They showed me that.’
Ronaldo confirmed his move to Juve was not linked with the similarly surprising decision by Zinedine Zidane to resign as Madrid’s head coach following a trio of Champions League crowns.
‘My decision to leave was not based on his departure,’ Ronaldo added. ‘That being the case, it’s one of those little things that made me feel a bit better in terms of what I thought of the situation at the club.’