Cristiano Ronaldo believes he can win a record-breaking sixth Ballon d’Or in 2018, although he insists he is happy with his career total to date.
The 33-year-old has won the last two editions of football’s top individual prize to draw level with Barcelona star Lionel Messi on five triumphs.
Ronaldo’s form in the first half of the season led to suggestions his 2017 win could be his last, although a run of 12 goals in all competitions since the turn of the year has put him back in contention for an unprecedented sixth success.
The Real Madrid star is adamant he has already achieved more in football than he expected but he trusts his ability to challenge for the award once more.
‘I never dreamt of winning five Ballons d’Or,’ he told Desimpedidos. ‘If I had to end my career right now, I’d be very, very happy. I managed to win everything in football.
‘If I win one, two or three more Ballons d’Or, I’ll be delighted. But if I don’t, I already won five.
‘Of course, I have ambitions and I feel capable and strong to challenge for the best player in the world. Some people say the opposite but I trust myself.
‘Right now, it depends. It depends on the trophies you win, on how you finish the season, on the World Cup this year. It depends on many factors, but I think it’s still possible.’
Ronaldo first won the award in 2008, after inspiring Manchester United to Premier League and Champions League success.
The Portugal captain says it was playing in Alex Ferguson’s star-studded side that first convinced him he was good enough to win individual prizes as well as team trophies, although he maintains he has never been ‘obsessed’.
‘I knew I was a special child,’ he said. ‘I had the same age as my comrades but I was better than them because I did things they couldn’t.
‘But it’s difficult to know when you’re going to win a Ballon d’Or. I played for Sporting and then went to Manchester. From that point on, I was playing with the best players in the world, and even so, I managed to stand out. I started to think I could win a Ballon d’Or.
‘At 16, 17, I started to believe it was possible. It’s worse if you put yourself under additional pressure. You have to let things happen in their own way.
‘If you become too obsessed with something, you won’t achieve your goals. Everything happens on God’s time.’
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