Lionel Messi has stood at the podium to accept the Ballon d'Or for the past four years while Cristiano Ronaldo was forced to look on from his seat in the audience. Since the start of this season, it seems that the tide has taken a turn.

Ronaldo has started the season as an untouchable opponent by racking up five goals in two Champions League matches and six goals in seven matches in La Liga for Real Madrid.

This seems to have been also matched by Messi's start until the off-season changes are taken into account. When Mesut Ozil left for Arsenal, everyone was shocked that Real Madrid would let the German playmaker leave for any cost. Ozil has continued his outstanding play at Arsenal, but the move brought questions, and raised concerns of how Madrid would continue to be a European power.

Ronaldo has always been and imposing player, both physically and through talent, that has been compared to Lionel Messi over the past years and this is his opportunity to take his place at the podium for the 2013 season.

If roles were reversed, would Messi be the same player without the likes of Xavi or Andres Iniesta at Barcelona? A case could be made that he would still have the same dominance over the competition, but we are viewing Ronaldo overcome additional obstacles and the adversity of losing his top playmaker.

It's still early in the season, but Ronaldo shows no signs of slowing down whether it be domestically, internationally, or in Europe. This seems to be the year that he will finally surpass Messi, as his level of play increases with each year.

Ronaldo seems to be ready to take his place at the podium for the next Ballon d'Or.

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