Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has waded into the debate over who should win FIFA’s coveted Ballon d’Or in 2012, unsurprisingly finding favour with Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of Barcelona playmaker Lionel Messi.
The Portuguese winger came second in last year’s ballot, which is voted for by a mixture of international managers and captains, as well as some of the leading journalists in world football.
Messi won the award in both 2010 and 2011, beating teammates Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez in the inaugural year of the competition after the amalgamation of the FIFA World Player of the Year and the Ballon d’Or.
But, after demoting his Los Blancos rival to the runners-up spot last year, ‘The Special One’ is convinced things will go the way of his player this year after Ronaldo helped lead Madrid to the La Liga title.
"For me, the best player of a season must be one that wins," Mourinho told ESPN after the 5-1 friendly victory over LA Galaxy.
"What (Ronaldo) did helped the team win something big and I don't think in the history of the Ballon D'Or, one player won it without winning a big thing.
"So I don't think Messi, without winning the Champions League, without winning the Spanish League, how can he be the Ballon D'Or?"
Messi scored 50 goals in the Spanish top flight last term, four more than Ronaldo, but ended the campaign without team silverware.
Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas is also thought to be a contender for this year’s award after captaining Madrid to a domestic title and Spain to the European Championships.
So who do you think should win the FIFA Ballon d’Or for 2012? Watch the montage of Messi and Ronaldo below, and have your say...